Kyrenia Animal Rescue
Report to the AGM
By Margaret Ray
Firstly I would like to apologies for the length of my reports which do get longer each year and KAR in 2013 had another tremendously successful year and there is much to tell. It has been 16 years of growth in which KAR is now well known as being the one of the largest Animal Rescue charities in the TRNC. Our work with the stray and abandoned animals has become high profile in North Cyprus but with that notoriety brings many more problems.
Our 14th year for our Rescue Centre at Besparmak sees a rise of 49 dogs and puppies in our care at the end of the year and the figure of 1,777 animals handled by KAR in 2013 against 1,661 the previous year. As the numbers of dogs in our care rises so does the need for expansion of kennelling facilities. In January thanks to kind donations and legacies an area of 10 compounds called ‘Doggy Avenue 1’ was completed and in March an area of a further 9 compounds called ‘Doggy Avenue 2’ was opened for use. Another 6 small compounds were built in June thanks to Girne Belediye and the floor of compounds M1, N & O were concreted.
At the start of the very hot weather it was agreed that the water system needed updating and that was completed in July. Following the scare of forest fires close to the centre it was decided to place water tanks around the perimeter and after a very successful public appeal for second hand tanks they were soon positioned, filled and ready for all emergencies. The main kennel block was in a bad state and several of the kennel partitions were closed off as they had become dangerous and unsafe both for the dogs and staff. Talk with architects and the raising of funds to rebuild this kennel block have been ongoing and become top of the priority list. The general health problems have continued and the fight against ticks and fleas are ongoing. However very worrying are the Mediterranean diseases in the dogs which have emerged slowly over the past few years and are caused by the sand fly and tick infestation, Ehrlichia and Leishmenia are increasing to epidemic status. Any suspect dogs in our care are tested which currently at 80 TL per test is a big drain on resources. Over 49 tests were done in 2013 as well as preventative medication administered by the staff. The WVS regularly send us spot on treatments for which we are very grateful. We have a great team of workers at the centre led by our supervisor Julie. Four are full time employees. In March they were joined by another full time worker who is employed by Girne Belediye. We are very grateful to them for giving us another very welcome pair of hands. At this stage I would like to say a very big thank you to all the staff and volunteers who work at the centre in all weathers and under arduous conditions caring for the dogs and cats.
Our biggest, and one of our most important campaigns, is our neutering and tagging programme. All dogs and cats over the age of six months are neutered and no animals are re-homed without being neutered. Over the year we have been working on a project to produce a booklet we have named ‘Let them Live. Killing is not the Solution’ This booklet helps to explain the reasons why we have chosen to follow a ‘Neuter & Return’ programme and the research behind the belief that Neuter & Return is the only way that works to humanely control the population of unwanted animals. The booklet we have produced in both the English and Turkish language and after months of hard work was eventually completed in November 2013. The Mayor of Girne Sumer Aygin endorsed the contents and agreed to fund the printing of 1,000 copies. At the end of 2013 they were ready for distribution. Our thanks go to those that helped to produce and design this very professional looking booklet. In 2013, 126 dogs were neutered, tagged and returned to the streets. Not all dogs can be returned as those that are too young, small breeds or those that have never had to fend for themselves are given temporary homes at the rescue centre until new forever homes can be found. Unfortunately it is a fact that there are not enough homes for all the dogs in North Cyprus and so a great number of those in temporary care became the statistics of those in permanent care at the centre. In 2013 162 were found new forever homes which was a drop from 200 the year before. Of those 162, 6 went to new homes in the UK and 4 to Germany. The total of dogs neutered during the year including the tag dogs were 273 a rise of 41 from the previous year. Not only are we working to control the population of dogs but we have also been working hard over many years to control the feral cat population in and around Girne. Our cat catching team is out every week following reports given to the helpline number, and in monitoring areas where there are known groups of cats. We have also been encouraging members of the public who are feeding stray and feral cats to visit our office and collect a ‘vet payment slip’, borrow a trap or basket and take the responsibility of taking the cat to the vet for neutering themselves. This helps relieve the pressure of numbers of cats that need to be caught by our team and also helps against the costs. The total number of cats neutered in 2013 including those under the ‘Vet slip’ system was 778 a rise of 43 over 2012. Sue from the Cat Catching team has the following words.
’We are noticing less signs of illness and disease on our rounds in the cats that we have neutered and returned. The more cats that we can neuter will in the future help to limit the risk of FIV and Leukaemia within the feral population’.
A big thank you to the cat catching team, for their continued dedication, and hard work throughout. We would also like to thank the group of volunteers who have fostered small kittens and brought them through their vulnerable stage until they were strong and old enough to be put onto the re-homing list. A great number of these kittens were found forever homes before they were brought up to the Rescue Centre. Older cats that were re-homed from the centre totalled 15 of which two were given new homes in the UK. The total number of cats in our care at the end of 2013 was 47.
Our Community Warden really came into full service in this year. His job of following up on the reports taken by the office staff, dealing with the public when they have problems, translating when required, collecting the animals from the streets and much, much more. He is a very valuable part of the KAR team and we would like to thank Yuliyan for his support and hard work in 2013. The busy office staff, try to deal with members of the public in a professional and caring manner and I would like to thank them for all their help and support in sometimes very trying circumstances. Other work handled by the office is answering emails, dealing with KAR membership which rose to 295, recording microchips, controlling the sponsorship of the animals promoting events as well as general office duties. The list is endless. As follows are a few words by Pat who has been running the sponsorship project.
‘By the end of 2013 we had 145 cats and dogs being sponsored. We are very grateful to the people that sponsor our animals, their sponsorship helps us provide a safe place for the dogs and cats to live and to give them any medical care they need and deserve. KAR treats all animals in our care equally, whether sponsored or not and that £10 per month from each sponsor is used to help all the dogs and cats, not just those being sponsored.
It would be nice to see an increase in sponsors in the forthcoming year as it would provide much needed additional income. It is important that we promote sponsorship on our website, Facebook page and of course, to visitors at the rescue centre. With over 250 dogs and cats to choose from, it is something we would very much like our supporters and volunteers to promote.
Some of our sponsors have contributed for a number of years and all of them deserve the thanks of all our animals and the people involved with KAR – it may only be £10 per animal per month but that £10 goes a long way in helping us with the animals’ Thank you very much Pat.
In August our new revamped Website was launched and a big thank you must go to Soner Kioufi from Kibkom for his expertise and help in producing the new easy to navigate KAR Website. In February the work by KAR to help the Import and Export of pets was given its own title of KAR Pet Travel and Kim has written a few words about activities during the year.
‘2013 continued as 2012 had finished – busy ! It seemed as if the tide of pets leaving TRNC would never wane. We were pleased that amidst that “tide” were TRNC stray animals – some from the streets and others chosen from our own rescue centre.
Throughout the year we did notice an increase in requests for help in the importation of pets from non UK countries – in particular the Middle East and UAE. We also saw an increase in multi family pet export – we arranged for several family groups of 8, 6, and 4 to be exported to the UK. This is obviously fantastic for the pets to have such committed and devoted owners but brought its own logistical problems which we needed to overcome. Due to height restrictions on Turkish Airlines there were still some dogs that were not able to fly. There was one special KAR/Animal Couriers overland trip organised, in June, to take those pets to UK. However the trip was not an easy one and took much longer than anticipated with the pets being returned, at one point, to TRNC. They all eventually arrived safe and well in UK but KAR were struggling to see how such troublesome trips could continue. They were simply too stressful for everyone involved. Thankfully there was no need for any further organised trips – but our close working relationship with Animal Couriers continues albeit now concerned with our UK cargo clearing and UK deliveries. Throughout the year we continued to liaise with Turkish Airlines about routes to other UK airports and also a relaxing of the size restrictions. Neither was resolved during 2013. We also worked very hard with the staff at Ercan (both cargo and non) and Turkish Airlines in the way that travelling pets are handled. over the course of 2013 we saw a vast improvement in that aspect and we appreciate their efforts. We began to look into setting up a blood testing service for the Rabies Serological Testing. Advice about this was sought from another of our regular working colleagues – Cyprus Animal Welfare (Paphiakos) who help us (and owners) when pets are travelling into TRNC via ROC. Owners were increasingly able to donate their used travel boxes and get them back to us for resale via Valentine Removals and incoming new owners. The numbers of pets that we have helped during 2013 is as follows:-
Exported flights – Dogs 29 Cats 24 – Overland trip June – 5 dogs
Export Papers only 23 (These were animals being taken to other Non UK Countries including Germany, France, Russia, USA)
Imports Flights 16 cats 14 dogs – Imports Overland – 2 Cats 4 Dogs
Our aim was to utilise our experience and growing working contacts, to help owners relocate their pets (either here or elsewhere) as easily as possible. This year we feel that we have achieved our aim. We hope to be able to do the same during 2014.’
Thank you to Kim for that very interesting report. We are very grateful to Kim for all her hard work in making KAR Pet Travel a professional service that is very sought after. KAR Pet travel is one of the services offered to raise funds for the overall benefit of the animals in our care.
Our main income is, and always has, come in from our KAR Charity Shop. Ann & Gwen have kindly given us the following report:
‘For the past 13 years the KAR Charity shop has always produced a major part of the Charity’s income. It had long been the desire of the shop management team to have a second outlet to sell the better quality items received in donations at a price realistic to their value. In the past the only option was to stage outside events involving a lot of hard work and preparation. The acquisition of new office premises at the end of 2012 provided space for a second shop and room to store and sort donations without incurring major overheads or a third lot of rental costs.
On January 18th Glad Rags Boutique Charity shop opened its doors. Stocked with top quality items in light uncrowded surroundings the desire was finally fulfilled. Larger items of furniture etc were also able to be displayed and sold rather than being sent to auction.
In its first year Glad Rags added 75,246tl to the Charity shops income total.
Some concerns that the Girne shop would suffer a downturn in its income were soon dismissed as each month the figures stayed stable or increased.
By mid summer, following another 10% increase in the rent, the decision to actively seek other premises was put seriously in hand. As location was a priority the chance to acquire premises just around the corner, at a lower rent and with a backroom for storage etc was a most welcome opportunity.Towards the end of October the new shop opened and has gone from strength to strength.The monthly takings greatly increased, many new customers were seen visiting, and the light airy atmosphere being much appreciated by everyone.
The year end takings of 118,853tl showed an increase of 12,300tl over that of 2012.
Sadly not all of the clothing items we receive are of saleable quality but we are able to benefit from them by providing the Rescue Centre with a good quantity of disposable bedding for the cats and dogs thus saving on laundry costs.
The success of both ’Glad Rags’ and the Girne shop would not be possible without the donated items we receive from the public and the tremendous hard work put in by the volunteer ladies who so generously give their time to staff and run them. Our sincere thanks go to each and every one of them.’
I would like to give our thanks to both Ann and Gwen for their management skills and many hours of hard work and professionalism and to the team of ladies that give their time freely in both shops to make them such a great success.
We need money to survive and enable us to do the important work for the animals. Many events were held over the year to raise funds, some by KAR and others by some of our fantastic supporters under our ‘Cash for KAR’ project. We held two dog shows this year, one in Lapta and ‘Paws in the Park’ in Girne, Xmas Bazaar, Lunches, Bonfire event and others organised, donations given by many and stands at other events, such as Race Night, KADs productions, Quiz Nights, Bird Men of Alsancak, SPOT fun run, GAU students, Slimmers World, Swap Night, Raffle Ladies Lunch, Alternative Quiz nights, Soner Kioufi – Kibkom, Lions Club, Mehmet Kumser and much more. Everyone has been very generous both with their time and their money and we are indebted to them all. We run regular Supermarket Begs from which we ask for pet food and cleaning materials etc. This is also a place where the public can obtain information regarding KAR’s events and activities. KAR food boxes at some Supermarkets are also a collecting point for pet food. Another selling point for KAR is our weekly table at Lambousa Market at which this year the sale of second hand books as well as KAR goods, pet items etc has raised much needed funds and that, and a Public Information Table on Thursdays in the centre of Girne, has been an ideal place for our volunteers to make the public and tourists aware of the work that KAR does in the community. A big thank you to all those the volunteers and fundraisers, we couldn’t do it all without them. In Febuary, Christmas arrived for the dogs and cats in our care when the donation of 100 dog and cat toys and treats arrived from Santa Paws which is an American based animal charity. A big thank you to all those that voted for KAR on the Santa Paws website. It was all gratefully received with lots of waggy tails and loud meows!!
Another very important part of our work in the community is our Education programme and Maggie has given us the following report:-
‘The beginning of 2013 saw the Education Team delivering their course ‘Animals and Us’ to nearly 100 Year one pupils at the English School of Kyrenia.
A few months later and the team was teaching two classes, 40 children, of the same age group at GAU prep school. These pupils were only 5/6 years old
Although these children are too young to have much responsibility for looking after their cats and dogs, they are able to understand that an animal has the same basic needs as they do.
That age group are very keen to do some art work and their pictures always show bowls of food and water etc. and are indications of their awareness.
In April another Turkish School, 19 Mayis, contacted the team requesting a visit to teach two classes of 11/12 year olds about the care of their animals. The school followed up what had been learnt in the classroom by a visit to the Rescue Centre. Obviously, because these were older students, issues of neutering, registration and dogs and the Law could be discussed.
As usual certificates were presented to each of the young people who had attended the course, and we were delighted that Veterinary Surgeon Pertev agreed to give out the certificates. 19 Mayis was his old school and he couldn’t wait to visit his former teachers! For the Education Team it was great to have a vet on board!
Group visits to the Rescue Centre continue to be organised by the Education Team and it is always a pleasure to have older students from the Universities. Regular visitors are young people from Eastern Mediterranean University who always bring donations of food and who are able to appreciate the work done by KAR.
2013 was an excellent year for the relationship between KAR and the students doing their Community Responsibility and Awareness Course at the English School of Kyrenia. Students attended the Dog Shows, Bonfire Night and the Christmas Bazaar. We are very grateful to them for the money that they raised, which enabled us to buy 8 kennels for the dogs on Doggie Avenue. A plaque was put up to acknowledge their help, and is a visible way of letting the young people see what their money is being spent on.
As well as teaching engagements, the team has been invited to attend other school events. Carole and Maggie were invited to Karsiyaka school’s picnic on the beach in May. The Head teacher thought it would be a good venue for the pupils, who had previously been taught by the team, to receive their certificates! Great fun. But much too windy!
In November the team was asked to run a ‘conversation’ class at 23 Nissan school to help a group of students practice their English.!
In October GAU Nursery School invited KAR to their Animal Care Day to receive an amazing donation of food for the animals at the Centre.
Throughout the year the schools and Universities, the teachers and their pupils, and of course parents, have been extremely generous with their donations of both food and money. This is really appreciated so we thank them very much.
We would also like to say ‘ Well Done’ to Annie, the three legged canine member of the Education Team. She continues to be the Star of the Show and would win round even the most fearful child!
Education remains a very important aspect within KAR. It is a well recognised way of helping people to become more aware of treating their dogs and cats as pets, and members of the family, rather than objects that they own. It is great to see the increasing number of young people attending our Dog Shows with their dogs, and handling them with confidence and kindness.
The ‘Let Them Live’ booklet generates a lot of interest and discussion and is used to explain and promote our policy of ‘ Neuter and Return’.
The team currently consists of Maggie Smith and Carole Widdison.
A big thank you and congratulations to the Education Team for a very successful year. Education forms a large part of KAR’s work both with children and adults. Maggie mentioned the visits of the students to the rescue centre and as well as organised groups we had approximately 1,000 members of the public visiting and enjoying taking dogs for walks, bathing or grooming them, playing with the cats or just looking at the many animals in our care. Some brought donations of food, some doated money, others went home to raise money and many left the staff encouraging words from their visit.
In November we had a very important visit by a delegation of five members of the House of Lords from the UK. They were very impressed by what they saw and discussed the problems facing the animals on the streets, our work with the community dogs and cats and what we were trying to achieve. They said that they would do their best to highlight KAR to other TRNC Government Officials and those in the UK who may be able to help. Our thanks to Baroness Meral Hussein Ece for organising the visit and for all her help and support.
The local private Vets that we work with on a daily basis have been fantastically supportive and have kept their charges as low as they dare. Unfortunately they have only been able to give us appointments when they have no private patients and so it is very limited and time consuming. We had planned for many months to have our own Veterinary clinic facilities so that we could employ a vet solely for KAR animals. During 2013 we developed this facility on the lower floor of our Office/Gladrags premises thanks to kind donations from the public. We have also equipped it ready for use. Grateful thanks to the ATA for money towards an operation table, to CVS Group Vet clinics in UK/Karen Hepplestone, Valentine Removals, Marchig Trust and private donations and legacies. We are extremely excited to be able to say that by the end of 2013 we had our own Vet clinic facilities ready to use for the neutering of the street dogs and cats. All that is required is a qualified Vet!! Grateful thanks to all those that have donated and helped to make this dream a reality.
Throughout 2013 we made many friends and contacts both in the TRNC, in the UK and in many other countries. Due to the technology of the media and internet we are managing to reach far more people, introducing KAR and the work that we do in the community. We are all working towards giving the stray and abandoned animals a better life. We continue to try to communicate with the Government, to improve animal laws and help to educate people to eradicate animal cruelty and to care for their animals as they would a member of their family. Our need to be able to continue with our work is funding, it’s a bottomless pit. It’s a 24/7 job as they say. We have however made great strides forward in 2013 and the future is looking good for 2014. We have many plans for the next year and are ready to face what is thrown at us, good or bad!!
Congratulations to the Executive Committee, to all staff, volunteers and supporters for a great successful year and a big thank you to you all.
To read more about the work of Kyrenia Animal Rescue please click here