Frequently Asked Questions

Shelter & Clinic In Turkey

Why do you help dogs in Turkey & not the UK?

We do help dogs & cats in the UK when needed through a number of our programmes. Please see our menu for more information.

We stepped up to help dogs in Turkey at the end of 2021 when the war on dogs began. Dogs were & still are being cleared from the streets & abandoned in remote areas with no access to food or water. They are being dumped at rubbish tips, living among the festering piles of garbage, exposed to disease & poisoning from toxic substances. They have no shelter, no food or water. Dogs are being shot, poisoned & beaten to death every week. We couldn’t watch puppies dying slowly from poison or being strangled, dogs being raped & then having their necks broken & not do something.

Where is your shelter project located

It is located in a small town in Turkey called Lapseki

Why are the dogs on concrete

We have hundreds of dogs under our care. Managing that number of dogs needs careful consideration. If we were to keep the dogs on grass the area would quickly become a mud bath. That would obviously be a very poor environment for the dogs. It is vital that we keep the dogs living accommodation clean. We need to be able to hose & dry the area daily. This is not possible on grass.

Why is there no bedding in the kennels

At the moment we are trying to find suitable bedding. The dogs take blankets out of the kennels frequently, it gets wet, needs to be laundered & dried. We do not yet have a washing machine. Some of the dogs chew the blankets giving us cause for concern as this could cause serious medical issues requiring urgent medical care. The dogs that live with us have never seen a kennel before never mind bedding. They have sheltered under trees, in shop doorways or suffered the elements. We are hopeful that they are happy to wait for us to get their bedding requirements right for them. As the warmer weather approaches we have time to get this right, a decision must be made before autumn begins to creep in as winters can be harsh in Turkey. The puppies & the nursing mothers have blankets which Nilufer takes home to launder & dry. We have blankets in the clinic too which are also taken home to launder. Nursing mums, puppies & sick, convalesing & some of the disabled dogs live inside, having access to outside areas.

Why do some dogs not eat out of the troughs

Many of our dogs have never seen a feeding trough before, they have always eaten from the bare ground. We have noticed that some dogs are suspicious of the feeders or just not comfortable eating from them & have been taking the food out & putting it on the ground. Eating from the ground is unsanitary so, having identified those who do not like the troughs we are feeding them from shallow trays. We are happy to this while they get used to the troughs & if they never get used to them they can continue with the trays.

Do the dogs know which kennel is theirs

They don’t. We have the same number kennels as dogs & allow them to choose their own. Most of the dogs did this within the first 48 hours & have stuck to their chosen kennel. A few of the dogs don’t like them, they don’t know what they are & have continued sleeping on the ground. Gradually they will get used to them as they watch their friends use theirs. If anyone needs a bit of extra help they will receive it. For example they may not be happy with the way we have set the kennels up or the direction they face. They may not be happy with their kennel facing another. We are listening to them & will do whatever they need. We have a little terrier who is a very happy chap but insists on tucking himself between a kennel & the partition wire at night. If he continues to do this we will ask the carpenter to build him a little hidey-hole kennel & position it in his chosen location. You may have noticed that the kennels are all large or extra large, this is because most of our dogs are very big & most of the smaller dogs like to bunk in together in their bonded groups.

Are the dogs stuck in small areas

No, general population can pass through the open gates to each partition & mingle freely. The only time a gate may be closed is if a new group of dogs comes in. In this case introductions need to be carefully monitored & executed by Nilufer. The new group will spend a very short time with their gate closed so that scent is exchanged, this is normally only a 24hr period. Once the gate is open Nilufer stays in view of the dogs to observe.

Do The dogs fight

The dogs in general population do not fight as long as they have enough food, which they do. We have some dog selective dogs who live in smaller social groups ranging from 2 to 10 in number. We sadly have a few dogs who are unable to tolerate being around other dogs. These dogs have their own kennels & outdoor runs. We are working on solutions for them. Mums & puppies have seperate accommodation. Sick dogs & dogs recovering from operations are kept seperate from the main group on a temporary basis.

Where do the dogs exercise

At present we do not have a dedicated exercise yard as such, they are able to move freely around all the blocks which covers a reasonable distance. They have enough space for rough & tumble play. We want to buy or lease some land close to the shelter which we can fence so that the dogs can be taken in convoy for a good run. This is written in to our development plan. Sadly that fundraiser has to wait until we have enough food club members to provide the dogs with food security. Feeding them is our top priority. I know that this will dissapoint many of you, it dissapoints us too but we need to remember that we are a tiny organisation doing something enormous with no budget. Please tell your friends about our work so that we can give these dogs everything they need in the shortest space of time.

Why are there no trees, shrubs & plants in the shelter grounds

Because we have no budget for landscaping. It will be the very last thing we do. The dogs needs must be met first. However if someone would like to gift landscaping & a gardener we would be delighted.

Do you only treat homeless dogs in the clinic

At the moment yes but Dr V & I have a roadmap to outreach which will include education & free sterilisations to the local community living in poverty or close to it. When sick dogs have owners & no means to pay for vet treatment we will help but this is subject to funding.

Are all the dogs sterilised

Yes

I live overseas Can I adopt a dog

No, sorry. The project is 100% focused in country

Is work at the shelter finished

No. We are currently building three new accommodation blocks as our plans were changed by the 5 emergency pitbulls who need individual living quarters. We need a washing machine for laundering blankets & a cooker to cook up food for the dogs. They eat a lot more in the winter so we add in a broth made from chicken, pasta & veg to their diet. Some patients require us to prepare food for them also. We have a number of cats in our care, all are not able to live on the streets due to medical conditions such as diabetes or a disability such as blindness. We need to renovate a building to accomodate them with an outdoor area. We also need a space for cats from the streets to recover from sterilisations & other procedures. Some of the private kennel areas need to have the outside runs paved. We need to do this once the better weather finishes as the ground will quickly turn in to a mud pit. We frequently run out of isolation areas for pups & dogs who need to spend a period on quarrantine. We need to remedy this by buying portable buildings which can be fitted with air conditioning & kitted out with isolation bays.

Does the clinic carry out private work

No. The clinic is only available for the treatment of homeless dogs & cats & companion animals living in poverty with their families.

Do Teams Run The Project

No. Nilufer manages the shelter. Dr V is responsible for all medical treatments & Michelle is responsible for raising funds to pay for the dogs needs. The Mayor pays for the water & electricity & provides a wage for Nilufer.

Do You Support Other Organisations Or People In Turkey

No we do not. In the early days before the shelter & clinic project began we sent food aid to many animal defenders in Turkey. Since the project began we do not have the funds to support efforts outside of Lapseki. We do not & have not ever supported any organisations in Turkey with cash funding. This applies to Nilufer also. We purchase food from her piggy bank & pay Dr V’s clinic for vet care. During the project set up we have sent funds to Nilufer’s association for materials, we have a paper trail for those transactions. The kennel purchases were transactions between ourselves & the carpenter, these transactions also have the paper trail required by law.

Do You Take In Vulnerable Dogs From Outside The Local Area

Yes we do. Some of the dogs that live with us were already under Nilufer’s care, many new dogs have arrived from the local area. We also have dogs that have come from many other areas in Turkey including garbage dumps & forests.

Are The Dogs Under Your Care From The Same Place

No. Our dogs come from all types of environments. Forests, rubbish tips, graveyards, towns & villages & situations where they are vulnerable or their lives are threatened. They have come from all over Turkey.

Can We Ask You To Take A Dog That We Know Is In Trouble

You can & we will help if we are able. However, we are a tiny organisation operating on a very tiny budget. We operate hand to mouth & may not have the resources to help the dog. When we rescue out of our area we have to fund transport costs which can be several hundred pounds depending on the distance the dog needs to travel. In addition to this each dog coming in to our care needs funding to pay for any vet care they may need, kennel & food costs & monthly parasite treatments. We may not have these funds. When the dog is unable to go in to general population & needs a private kennel there may not be one available.

Are You Ever Not Able To Help A Dog

We try very hard to say yes to calls for help as often as we can. There have been a few times when it has not been possible to help due to not having private kennel facilities needed to care for the dog / dogs adequately or isolation units needed to care for puppies.

In the very early days of the project we had hoped to support a lone feeder who was caring for several hundred dogs who had been dumped by a municipal shelter. We added kennel numbers to our already existing kennel fundraiser after hearing that a shelter would be made for the dogs away from the garbage. Shortly after, we began the shelter project & having seen that the proposed “shelter” would be kennels placed away from but still close to the garbage we asked if we could take the dogs to Lapseki. We were told that we could take half of them. We sent a video of the new shelter & never heard anything back which was very dissapointing. The lone feeder has never received funding from us. We had a great deal of trouble regarding this rescue from another association who continually accused the lady we were trying to help of being a fraud, she accused her of lying about the number of dogs that were at the location in question. She phoned the garbage dump asking for evidence & involved other people in her investigations. We have been told that she also brought the lone feeders integrity in to question on social media via a livestream. We have not seen this so cannot verify it. She also jumped very quickly to conclusions that were not a reality. She thought that all fund raising for kennels would be given to the lone feeder. This was very untrue as the fundraiser began before we even met the lone feeder. This destructive behaviour in conjunction with the radio silence & the lone feeders desire to keep some of the dogs at the garbage dump resulted in the dogs not coming to us. We have made it clear to the lone feeder that we will happily accept her dogs & support them anytime she would like us to have them. We hope that they will still come.

A few of the organisations we have offered to help when we have seen them struggling with dogs in unsanitary conditions, no shelter, no access to medical care & concerns about food security have declined our help. We find this quite shocking & deeply upsetting when the org / person continues to struggle & beg for help. However, there must be a valid reason which we respect & we are unable to force anyone to make a decision that they are not willing to make.

Unfortunately there is a very nasty culture of destructiveness which exists among some animal defenders in Turkey. Our project has been attacked many times with both emotional & physical threats to its success. Some individuals have attempted to damage Nilufer’s reputation in an effort to divert our funding to them. Nilufer has received verbal abuse for working with a foreign NGO. The integrity of our organisation has been brought in to question when we have not complied with the wishes of those who do not agree with our support for Nilufer. Before the dogs were at the shelter criminal damage occurred when an attempt was made to burn down your kennels with our logo & your / your dogs name on. We know who did this & we know that they are animal lovers actively engaged in animal care. It is in the hands of the police. We have since installed security cameras & taken further steps to keep the dogs, Nilufer & the shelter safe.

We hope that this behaviour will dissipate as we would like to continue our work in Turkey building on the great success we have found in Lapseki. It would be wonderful to be able to replicate the project as a whole or even just in free clinical care for homeless dogs. We are taking note of orgs & individuals who do not participate in destructive behaviour in the hope that we can support them. We will meet with one org & their mayor next time we visit Turkey.

It is incredibly sad that, while we expected to make enemies in Turkey for many obvious reasons we did not expect people who care about animals to be our foes while the government supports our efforts. We battle on.