Volunteers rescue pets wounded in Katyusha attacks
AHAVA has collected 168 dogs and cats and brought them into shelters, kennels and private homes.
By JENNY MERKIN
While northerners pour into the southern part of the country or into neighborhood bomb shelters, dogs and cats, some wounded by shrapnel from Katyusha rockets, are being left to fend for themselves.
Consequently, volunteer organizations have come to the rescue, trying to gather the abandoned pets and bring them to safer surroundings. Two such associations are AHAVA, an organization created to better the lives of animals in Israel and the Middle East, and Tenu L'Haiot L'Hiot (Let Animals Live).
AHAVA has collected 168 dogs and cats and brought them into shelters, kennels and private homes. Its volunteers have found so many that the organization lacks the room to house more. Additionally, AHAVA volunteers are bringing food to the North to feed the hundreds of cats that roam the streets and are accustomed to being fed by local residents.
Tenu L'Haiot L'Hiot has gathered close to 300 animals and has housed them in various shelters. On Saturday, the organization ran a drive in Ramle for people to come and adopt these pets, but few people came to the event.
"These dogs and cats are being left outside and they are getting wounded from the shrapnel," said Tamara More, a spokesperson for AHAVA. More, who has found eight wounded animals and believes there "are hundreds if not thousands of more animals that have been injured."
In addition to physical injury, pets have been emotionally traumatized by the effects of the last few weeks.
"Imagine how you would feel if you had been accustomed to living in a loving, comfortable environment, then abandoned, living on the street, and then have rockets fall all around you? It's not hard to imagine how they feel," said Etti Altman, spokeswoman for Tenu L'Haiot L'Hiot.
Nonetheless, More said that the animals in the shelters were getting along well and were "just happy to be back in a home and off the scary streets. They are so grateful." However, she added, "they still tremble at every sound."
Not all owners have abandoned their pets. In fact, some animals factor greatly in their owners' decisions regarding leaving the north.
Gavriel Rubinstein did not originally leave his home in Safed because he did not want to leave his dog, Simba.
"When you have a pet, you take in a responsibility. You become attached to your animals and they become one of the family. You can't just leave them behind. They have feelings and are traumatized by the noise," explained Gavriel's mother, Sarah.
To aid and contact either organization call AHAVA at (03) 646-7777, and Tenu L'Haiot L'Hiot at (03) 624-1776.
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