War in Gaza, Rafah: This is what the project to save the Gazan dogs looks like

Roy Shafernik (39), the founder of the association “Kiror Shokofim” which has been operating for about 11 years with the aim of documenting and exposing the suffering of animals in industries that produce animal products, since October 7 found himself recruited for another task: receiving thousands of inquiries from residents of the Otaf and soldiers who deal with dogs that entered from Gaza to Israel, and the appeals of fighters who rescued dogs from the fire areas, saving the lives of as many of them as possible and rehabilitating them. “From October 7, Guy Gilboa-Dalal, the nephew of my partner Tal Gilboa, was kidnapped in Gaza, and already on Saturday at 12 noon we felt that we were in an impossible situation Caught,” says Spernik.

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“Tal, the Prime Minister’s chief adviser on animal rights, who was busy the first two weeks with the family because we received a serious bomb, wrote a post a day or two after that Shabbat asking anyone who needed help with animals, from the southern region, to talk to me. On the first and second day of the war, they almost didn’t bother with animals, of course, because there were terrorists in the Otef, and then, slowly, I began to receive ricochets from Otef residents about their animals that were left in the burned and destroyed houses.

There were many tragedies such as animals that the terrorists burned with the houses. In the first two weeks, we could not get close to the encirclement and we saved dogs that fighters found or that we managed to reach by a non-road route. In the beginning, the whole thing was improvised because the local authorities collapsed and there was no one to deal with it.”

How many dogs are there?
“We are talking about a thousand dogs. When there was a massive entry of our forces into Gaza, many dogs ran away, but of course some died, some were injured and some are still there in Gaza. It was enough to pressure the soldiers from different directions to stop the issue of bringing the dogs from Gaza, so it was more or less reduced. Most Gazans who left their homes did not take their animals with them. Most of the dogs the Gazans kept are guard dogs of the German shepherd type.”

“There are amazing dogs”
Sparnik began to work in close cooperation with the IDF and the local authorities from the surrounding area to capture the dogs coming from Gaza and take care of them. ‘, and not to bother with this problem either,” he explains.

Caleb Schnitzel Meza (photo: Kiry Shkofim)
Caleb Schnitzel Meza (photo: Kiry Shkofim)

“I’m not saying that I always take the side of animal rights activists, but I look at the reality as it is: there are difficult dogs, dangerous dogs that you can’t bring into the house, these are wild dogs. There is a school of thought that says that all these dogs should be killed because they are a danger. I say that we need to stop for a moment because we proved that from these dogs we also got the most caressing and gentle dogs in the world, which were used to the conditions-unconditional conditions in Gaza. In various articles published on the subject, it is claimed that 90% of the dogs from Gaza are not adoptable and that they should be killed, and that making an effort for the 10% who are adoptable is irrelevant but marginal, when in practice it is more like 60% of problematic dogs and 40% of stray dogs.”

The Ministry of Health claims that the introduction of dogs and cats into the territory of the State of Israel may lead to the spread of diseases. How do you actually deal with this challenge?
“At the end of the day, Gaza is not the State of Israel, it is abroad. The dogs enter here when there are no veterinary services there, so I understand the head of the veterinary services in Israel that he does not want to take the risk that a disease will enter from Gaza through animals because it will be on the head On the other hand, there are amazing dogs there, they are refugees from difficult combat zones of the bombs.

Dogs that come to us and do not go through the official closures where they receive the initial veterinary treatments, are sent to the vet, for blood tests and vaccinations and spent several weeks in the clinic. In conclusion, there is a directive, and I understand it, but I do not agree with the sweeping directive. They run away because they have no food sources. We do all the necessary tests and vaccinations and try to conduct ourselves responsibly. everything is under control”.

“This is already our problem”
These days, Spernik initiated a crowdfunding campaign on the GIVE BACK platform for the purpose of rescuing as many dogs as possible that come from Gaza. “Every dog ​​that is rescued needs basic veterinary treatment and some require more complex veterinary treatment. We rescued dogs that were wounded by gunshots and injured by shrapnel, and there are also many dogs that need rehabilitation with a trainer.

These things cost money and I’m all a small association, and I found myself with no choice but to save the dogs from Gaza, which is not my regular base,” he says. “We need to provide the dog with the light rehabilitation and for that we need money to put him in a training boarding house and not just throw him in a cage. There was a dog that needed an eye operation and we saved him or a dog with an amputated leg that came to us on the verge of death with gunshot wounds from Gaza and we saved his life and he recovered well. The fuel is the public that supports, the animals that recover, and you see that the dogs are slowly released from their shock.” .

In what condition do they reach you?
“I won’t make up stories for you, you receive dogs in total shock, they don’t know what a human is, they are raised by Hamas and Islamic Jihad people who don’t exactly know how to give them warmth or a warm and huggable attitude. Little by little you see how the dogs open up and pass An exciting process, and today they play ball and go wild, they opened up, got out of the survival mechanism of looking for food and getting out of danger.”

How much demand is there for adoption?
“At the beginning of the fighting there was a very big wave, but it subsided a little. We are constantly encouraging him. You have to try not to abandon a dog because if a dog goes into quarantine and the quarantine is overcrowded – the dog is euthanized. There is chaos that we are trying to control, and we do not want to see animals suffer. These are no longer Gaza dogs but Israeli dogs and this is our ‘problem’ that we need to address, to save their lives. There are amazing success stories and exciting dog adoptions.

The project is like an investment by the public. In the end, everything is financial. I can’t take loans and find myself in debt of a million shekels, and you can easily reach that. You just take 50 dogs, can’t find them a home and then you get into trouble. We won’t be able to save everyone because there aren’t enough resources or thousands, but we can do dozens and maybe even hundreds of acts of kindness, depending on the investment and how much the public can give. It is a charity project and it is part of the energy of the people of Israel.

The Jewish people are a people of kindness and mercy. So far, we have rescued countless dogs and found an adoptive home for many. In the end, happiness is seeing at the end of the process the dogs we cared for happy in a foster home, that’s why we started a crowdfunding campaign. Our project saves lives.”

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