By Margaret Sheard ….
On Sunday 2nd February, a beautiful warm and sunny day, we travelled to Famagusta to visit the Gazimağusa Dog Shelter for the second FARC Open Day.
Unfortunately, having never been there before, it took us a while to find it so we were a little late arriving, although there were still some visitors walking some of the dogs. We were told that most of the dogs had been walked that day so they were all very happy with the attention and most were by then having a sleep.
We met up with Sarah Jane Purcell and her husband Ralf. Sarah has recently gained the qualification of “Veterinary Support Assistant” with Diploma Level 3 and a “Distinction”, she is very proud of her achievement. We also met Chris Hocking, who originally started feeding the abandoned dogs on which was then a just a “tip”. We asked Sarah and Chris about the Famagusta shelter and they gave us the following information.
Chris started to look after the stray dogs in the tip area around 2012 and was later joined by Sarah. The original derelict building is now the offices, veterinary treatment and storage area and in 2014 the new buildings to house the FARC dogs were erected, which we saw during our visit. Sarah told us that the shelter is funded by the Gazimağusa Belediyesi in respect of food, medication and veterinary treatment which is provided by a local vet who attends the shelter 5 days per week from 8am to 3pm. Credit to the Gazimağusa Belediyesi for recognising the need to help the street animals of the area.
There is now in excess of 500 dogs and puppies at the shelter, a lot of work for the people who care and they rely on volunteer animal lovers to help, who mainly come from the local university – DAU. FARC have now had to close their doors to any further intake as they are totally full to overflowing and cannot take any more at this moment in time.
Sarah is at the shelter every day to ensure everything is running smoothly and said they are trying hard to re-home the dogs to perhaps the UK, Germany etc. and the aim for the future is to carry out the prep work for re-homing and to build a block of kennels away from the main area, so when the dogs are ready to travel there will be no possibility of any type of infection from the others in the main kennel area. Although the Belediyesi cover the costs of running the shelter, funds are desperately needed for the cost of travel to new homes in other countries, which has to be funded by FARC.
There will be an Alternative Quiz at the Black Olive Cafe in Alsancak on Friday 21st February, 6.30pm for 7pm start. Details shown on the poster. A lovely opportunity to help FARC with their much needed funds.
There was a very young puppy wandering around and we were told that she appeared a few days before, completely on her own. Whether she was dumped or not is not known and, if not, were there other puppies, and what happened to them? It is such a sad situation in North Cyprus and what would happen without people like Sarah and the many others who do what they can for the street dogs and puppies and also the large cat population. Just before we left I sat and cuddled this little puppy who fell asleep against my warm fluffy jacket. She was to stay in a large cage with blankets and toys for the night in the corridor of the office building and with the door of the cage left open she had access to biscuits and water. She looked very contented settling down for a nap when we left.
Now we are aware of the location, which in fact we realised is easy to find as it is alongside a large water treatment plant with huge dome shaped tanks, we will visit again and arrive earlier to see the visitors walking the dogs who really enjoy the exercise and attention.
As most of the visitors had been and gone, we did not take photographs but thank Ralf Purcell for the huge amount of photos he forwarded to us to choose from.
To see more photos and information visit the FARC Facebook page by clicking here