The injured, frightened animals of Antakya

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Humane Society International team members go to rescue a cat trapped in the house in the earthquake in Antakya district of Hatay, on February 21, 2023.

A veterinarian and animal rescue team from Humane Society International (HSI) deployed to Antakya, Turkey, following the earthquakes, are working to bring aid to injured, scared animals – and helping locals find their missing pets.

According to HSI, who are working with a team of local vets, “dogs and cats can be seen roaming the streets, and desperate barks and meows can still be heard coming from abandoned and collapsed buildings”.

Emrah Gurel/AP Images for HSI

Kelly Donithan, HSI’s director of animal disaster response, is leading HSI’s deployment. She says, “Every day here our team is heading out to search for animals in the worst affected areas. We’re bringing back rescued dogs and cats suffering with cuts, bruising, malnutrition, dehydration and infections. We’re working with an amazing team of local vets and volunteers in a veterinary field hospital tent, and the calls for help keep coming in.

“People who evacuated are worried for their pets left behind, so wherever possible we locate their apartments and find them. We’re also picking up animals on the street; we found a mother dog who had very recently given birth, her puppies were still blind but somehow she’d managed to keep them safe. When we settled her in a comfy bed at the hospital she was so exhausted she slept all day while her pups suckled.”

Emrah Gurel/AP Images for HSI

“We’ve been setting up water bowls on street corners as so many roaming animals are suffering from dehydration. It’s hard to estimate how many animals have been impacted by this disaster, but the numbers are certainly high. It’s clear that for the people here who have lost everything, to know that their pet companions are safe means a lot and it is humbling for our animal rescue work to be so welcomed by the people we’re meeting in Antakya.”

You can donate to HSI’s Animal Rescue Fund here to provide grants, vital supplies and fund our teams in emergency situations such as this.

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