Palestinian Authority closes only dog shelter, evicts dogs
The only dog shelter in the Palestinian Authority is about to be shut down after the municipality decided to build a hotel and hospital on its land; 50 dogs are now in danger of being put out on the street; Israeli animal protection organizations are trying to lend a helping hand.
The lives of about 50 dogs are now at serious risk, after the Bethlehem Animal Shelter & Administration Unit (BASAU) lost its financial backing.
The BASAU is the only dog shelter in the Palestinian Authority, and takes in dogs from all over the Palestinian territories. It operates solely through donations with no government funding.
Diana George Babish, a Palestinian resident of Beit Sahour who established and operates the shelter, built it on land owned by Beit Sahour, which now plans to build a hotel and hospital on the land.
"They sent me a notice for immediate eviction and did not offer me a replacement facility for the shelter, like I had requested," said Babish Wednesday. "I'm in deep debt because of the shelter's expenses and I don't have the option to move it someplace else."
Next month, the Palestinian Authority will hold elections for local municipalities. As a result, the shelter became less of a pressing issue in Bethlehem and Beit Sahour.
Due to the risk of eviction, several Israeli animal protection organizations have begun working together to save the 50 dogs in Babish's shelter.
"We're very afraid that that the dogs will get thrown into the street, where their days will be numbered," said Let the Animals Live founder Eti Altman.
"These dogs are like my children," said Babish. "I want to know that they'll find a loving home in Israel."
(Translated & edited by Lior Mor)