Defending pets from Hamas’s bite: Israelis defend their furry companions

The association of local government veterinaries in cooperation with the Agriculture Ministry released new guidelines to keeping Israel’s pets safe from Hamas terror.

May 5, 2019 17:16
3 minute read.
President Rivlin at Gaza Division - 5 May 2019

A woman pulls her dog inside a shopping trolley as they leave the Anclivepa-SP veterinarian hospital, which is financed by Sao Paulo's municipal government and opened two months ago offering free health care for the pets of low-income residents, in Sao Paulo August 22, 2012.. (photo credit: NACHOS DOCE / REUTERS)

When air sirens are heard and people rush to the nearest bomb shelter, how can their beloved pets be protected?

The head of the association of local government veterinaries, Dr. Avi Tzarfati, explained in a press release that proper “preparation ahead of time… will enable us to defend [pets] better and prevent them from being left behind in the field,” Ynet reported on Sunday.

Pets will be as safe as the humans they love in a shelter that was built according to regulations.

“Family pets are part of the population and must be treated as part of the family,” the statement continues, explaining pets need to have their own space in the shelter.

So what do you need to ensure your pet will do well in a bomb shelter? A water dish and a food bowl are a must, as well as plastic bags and paper towels to remove their waste if they make any due to fright or a prolonged stay.

It’s also a good idea to have enough food to feed the furry companion for 48 hours if needed and have enough water for 24 hours should the stay be that long.

As dogs might become alarmed at the presence of strangers it’s a good idea to keep them muzzled to prevent biting, Ynet warns. If the pets are small enough to be kept in a carry-box use one, if not, make sure you have a leash to keep them near you.

To those who might object to keeping their beloved cat in a cage for all this time, the Agriculture Ministry says that “a prolonged stay in a shelter with a nervous dog or cat, who may whine and run around, could lead to the animal or those around it being hurt.”

“Placing them in a cage protects both us and the pets from unnecessary harm,” the press release said. 

Stressing that animals can feel tension and stress just like humans, owners are advised to speak with them and pet them during the stay in the shelter as they comfort other family members.

The main concern is that an anxious owner will project his fear to the animal who will then associate the stay in the shelter with fear.

While there is no legal duty to tag cats with a microchip-tracing implant, the press release suggests the information of the owner, their address and contact details, as well as the details of the vet who looks after the animal be clearly marked on the cage of the pet.

If the pets need medications, these should be present at the shelter or brought with them for the stay. However, it is not a good idea to give the pets drugs to make them docile or sleep during the stay.

The Agriculture Ministry has an online database dog owners can use to register their dogs in case they get lost. Even if the dog doesn’t have a chip now they suggest writing the owner’s details inside the collar of the dog.

Should the owners decide to head to the north of the country during the recent round of clashes with Hamas they should take their pets with them or place them in an animal shelter, Ynet adds.

Israel’s national pet is the Canaan Dog, bred by Austrian-Jewish scientist Rudolphina Menzel in the early years of the country.

In 2016 Ynet reported that 20 Canaan dogs were flown to the US after nobody showed interest in adopting them from the animal shelters they were placed at.

Led by Avital Rozen, since 2015 113 Canaan dogs were flown to the US and adopted by families there.


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