Morocco's capital city, Rabat, is currently being overwhelmed with the amount of stray cats and dogs that live there - partly because people only want to buy purebreds, writes The Dodo.The city, despite being home to over 1 million people, only has 2 animal shelters,L’Association de Défense des Animaux et de la Nature (ADAN) and La Tribu de Quat'pattes. Both of these organisations are now full, with hundreds of canines desperately needing a home.
However, cultural norms make this very difficult. In Morocco, dogs are considered unclean, and are often not allowed in people's houses because of this. As people must be clean to do their daily prayers, many Moroccans also believe that touching a dog means that they won't be able to carry out religious duties.But the problem doesn't just stop there, as an ADAN volunteer toldThe Dodo:
Animals aren't really taken care of. Even worse when it comes to dogs because people here believe they chase angels away and that they cannot be touched [...] The few Moroccans who like dogs, instead of adopting one at the shelter, want a purebred. Their favorites here are German shepherds and huskies.
With cultural stigma and the preference of purebred dogs over shelter dogs, it isn't hard to see why rescue centers have hit a problem.Both ADAN and La Tribu de Quat-pattes were designed to be temporary places for these animals to stay, but as there are few willing homes, the shelters are unable to take in new animals, nor do they have the money to build more kennels.
La Tribu has only just made enough in donations to move out of the 'temporary' building they were originally given by the state. In ADAN's case, along with the over 150 dogs they are housing, they are also trying to tackle the city's stray cat problem by rescuing over 100 felines too.Hundreds of dogs are left to roam the streets with few people treating them with kindness, and with nowhere for them to go. Other cities have taken to shooting or poisoning their strays, which provokes national and international uproar and doesn't seem to work.
More effective campaigns have taken place in other Moroccan provinces, where neutering the animals has lead to a decrease in the stray population. Hopefully this will be rolled out across the country in the near future.To continue to save animals in Rabat and change attitudes towards these vulnerable animals, ADAN relies on donations and awareness of their cause. You can donate to them via their website - or even adopt a dog of your own (website in French and English)! You can donate to La Tribu via Paypal here.
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