May 31, 2023

Where there’s life, there’s Hope

with Hope 4 Pets

We have just received the following sad but uplifting review with touching pictures from Tom Roche of Living Magazine and would like to share them with our readers.

“Where there’s life, there’s Hope

It sometimes seems as if Facebook was invented purely for dog and cat lovers to share cute pictures and videos. Many furry internet stars do raise a smile, but Hope 4 Pets’ Facebook page is different.

It’s a scroll of sadness – heartbreaking images of lost, starving, abused and homeless animals – and a testament to human cruelty.

But the bleak images tell only half the story, for the volunteers behind this group can also show many success stories of dogs and cats rescued from life on the streets and given loving new homes.

Hope 4 Pets was founded just two years ago and now has 2,800 followers. Many remain supporters and well-wishers, Hope 4 Petsothers stay in the background and give unselfish financial help, but there’s a hardcore of devoted animal lovers prepared to drop everything and come to the aid of stricken creatures at all hours of the day or night.

They have proved remarkably effective. Hundreds of animals have been rescued, not just dog and cats, but birds, fish and other creatures in need. An amazing 18 dogs have been taken off the streets and sent to new homes in the UK.

The group was created by Karşiyaka ex-pat Maria Chappell a former NHS care worker. She admits she had not intended to become an animal welfare campaigner. “It was meant to be a little group for me and my friends, for anybody who’s lost their dog and maybe to find a home for the odd stray, but it just developed on its own. People started donating bedding and food and now we give help wherever it’s needed.

Maria and Vic Chappell with their dogs

“I’ve worked in the care sector all my life and animals need care the same as we do. From the first week, I was out helping, now it’s become full-time work. If pups or kittens are discovered starving late at night, you can’t just leave them till the morning. We will put out an appeal and somebody will be prepared to help.”

Maria and her husband Vic have five dogs of their own, a jolly bunch of mongrels large and small, who refuse to sit still as we attempt to take pictures. But there’s another who hardly moves, except to cower under her blanket in the corner. This is Alma, one of the many abandoned creatures fostered by the couple until a new home can be found.

“She’s obviously been ill-treated but Vic has managed to get a lead on her and Almawe have seen her trying to play. She’s still very nervous of strangers though,” Maria explains.

The group supports animal shelters in Famagusta and Lefkoşa as well as individual cases throughout the country. Organisers have forged links with vets willing to give emergency treatment and cut-price neutering for strays, notably Petline of Çatalköy and Pet Cross in Ozanköy.

Maria is passionate about what she sees as the need to neuter the entire North Cyprus population of cats and dogs, but concedes that it may not be easy to persuade the authorities to endorse such a drastic policy.

It currently costs 350 TL to neuter a female dog and 250TL for a male. The costs would be substantial and, despite a government-backed chipping and registration scheme introduced two years ago, there are no reliable statistics on dog numbers.

“This is a tiny island and the population is so small but the incidences of cruelty and neglect are enormous,” she says. “I have even been in a pet shop with dead pigeons lying on the bottom of the cage.

“The government should make neutering compulsory for at least five years, to slow down the cat and dog population and enforce the dog registration scheme so owners can be traced. It’s been tried elsewhere and it works. There will always be too many street animals otherwise.

“They need to go into the villages and explain animal welfare, check things out.  I’d like to see welfare officers go into schools and talk about poisoning. You wouldn’t poison your children or your grandchildren, why these babies?”


Birlik – An emblem for the street dogs of North Cyprus

One evening in September last year the group received a message about a starving and damaged dog in the town of Güzelyurt. He was a barely living skeleton, his skin covered in lesions, in part, his bones literally sticking through his flesh.

He was collected by Hope 4 volunteers and taken to Çatalköy vet Niyazi Çelebi. Even the most kind-hearted dog Birlik beforelover might have been tempted to put the poor animal out of its misery, but Nizazi administered first aid and embarked on a course of healing treatment which took three months.

The dog was named Birlik, or Unity, as Stephanie Harrison-Croft explains: “He was in so much pain and overwhelmed with sadness and so weak that he could not even raise his head.

“However, with the dedication and care of many, many people from all walks of life and culture, he spread Unity, and stands and runs today in total health, pain -free and happy.

“Birlik is so named because immediately we sprung into action as did three other animal groups in the TRNC. This was an incredible achievement in itself, that everyone on these groups managed to work, coordinate and communicate together as  ‘Unity,’ especially given the language barrier.

“His story has touched many people from all walks of life, cultures, and beliefs. The support for this sad, wrecked, anguished street dog, has been remarkable, drawing together the community as one towards the plight of street animals here in Northern Cyprus.

“He has now been homed and even has his own Facebook page. The group’s aim is to follow Birlik’s life step by step and give hope. This lovely boy through all his suffering has been lucky, but we continue to try and help as many others as we can.”

Hope-4-Pets is an open group for members to help find homes and love for the many abandoned dogs and cats in the TRNC. If you would like to support them, click here and click here to see their Facebook pages.”

Supporters receive weekly dog food supplies from Starling supermarkets

Supporters receive weekly dog food suppliesfrom Starling supermarkets

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