Sunday, December 20, 2015

One of the parts of living life here in Muscat (and for that matter many other places too, but we'll just focus on Muscat here) is the number of stray cats and dogs you see running around. Seeing a run-over cat is practically a daily occurrence for me. It's easier for me now than it was when I first moved here, but I always think to myself the same thing: I hope it was quick.

Muscat, like many other places, is a very transient place with people coming and going (to live) all the time. People adopt pets, and then move country, and don't take their animals with them. People adopt pets and decide they don't want them, and let them loose in neighbourhoods (usually The Wave or Qurum). Pets sometimes get out and then cant work their way home again, and yet more pets breed and then those offspring are homeless from the beginning.

There's many genuine causes for people here in Oman, and the Government assigns it's budgets how it see's fit. As far as I'm aware, the Government does not assign any funds towards the humane control of stray animals. About the only funds it assigns are in the salaries and ammunition bills of the ROP officers it sends out to shoot strays from time to time. There's many horror stories of officers mortally wounding dogs, and just leaving them to bleed out and die in some cases over the course of a few hours. If you're gonna shoot a stray dog at least have the decency to put a round into it's brain to make it quick.

There is a group here called Omani Paws (it's a private FB group but you can ask to be accepted and usually takes just a few minutes in the daytime) which has the stated objective of caring for as many of these stray animals as possible, with many success stories of cats and dogs being successfully re-homed to loving families, sometimes even as far away as the USA and Canada.

Omani Paws operates entirely on charitable donations (remember, no funding from the Government) and as you can imagine it is an uphill battle. One of the best schemes that Omani Paws operates is what is referred to as TNR. Trap, Neuter, Release. Basically, if a stray cat is left to it's own devices, it'll breed and create more stray cats. Same with dogs.

In an ideal world all the stray animals would be rounded up and found homes for them, but this is not going to happen, so the best that can be done is to play the "long game" and fix them so they can't re-produce. This helps to bring the population of stray animals down naturally.

There has been a gofundme campaign set up to raise funds to pay off some of the current RO 5,700 (£10,000) bill the group has. At the time of writing £520 (RO 300) had been donated, so a good start, but every little helps. If you are reading this and want to help, all you need is a credit card and head to the gofundme website. You could donate RO 5 instead of giving a Christmas gift this year... or something.

Every little helps.

le fin.

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