Monday, 11 August 2014

Fighting ignorance

When my existing rescued dogs first started to arrive, my lovely Beki and gorgeous Poppy were still alive.

Megan turned up outside my gate, very thin, exhausted and hungry.  We fed her outside the gate.  Sammy started arriving each day with her, also very hungry.  At this time Sammy belonged to the women with sheep just down the hill from us.  He was about a year old, and they had had him since he was a puppy.  I had several run-ins with them over the fact that they kept him on a short chain, with not enough shade, inadequate food and little water.  In fact some of you may remember that one day I released him from his chain in front of them, and was soon surrounded by other neighbours looking a bit bemused.

I tried to tell them that there was no need to keep him chained up.  They only had him there to guard their property, but if they fed him well, gave him water, and treated him kindly, he wouldn't leave them.  They took notice for a few days, but then chained him up again.  It was at least a longer chain, in shade, and they remembered to give him water every day.

So when he turned up at my gate each day with Megan, I fed him too.  After about a week I decided to adopt Megan, but I felt sure that I should take Sammy as well.  Mr A said yes we should, and he told the sheep women in no uncertain terms that because they had neglected him, he was now ours.  They didn't argue.  Although several weeks later when he was looking considerably healthier they asked to take him back.  By this time we had paid for them both to be vaccinated, had flea and worm treated them, and they had been neutered.   So the answer was no, he was now our dog.

Over the next few months Blondie arrived, then Freddie.  We adopted Monty and Tommy from animal groups in other areas, then earlier this year we rescued the three pups, Dave, Chas and Melek.

I have noticed in recent weeks that the sheep women have another dog.   He is kept on a chain, where Sammy used to be, and when I pass he seems relatively OK.   However, yesterday morning around 6am, I set off down the hill to feed the dogs in the village.   I heard the dog whimpering as soon as I turned the corner.  He was not in his usual place, but up the hill slightly away from the sheep women's house, tied with thin rope around his neck, attached to a telegraph pole.  The rope was so short he couldn't move.   I went up to investigate.  He was very distressed.  He was standing in his own excrement because he had no choice, and there was no water.

I was so angry.  I gave him a handful of biscuits, then proceeded to try and undo the rope.  It was very difficult because it had been knotted so many times.  I persisted, actually making my fingers very sore, until I had loosened enough of the knots to force the rope over his head.  He yelped as I squashed his ears, poor little thing, but did not once try to bite me.   He ran down the hill to a water bowl and drank it dry.   (Actually this dog could be female.  I'm not sure, because I was so anxious about setting him free, I didn't look).

I then realised that the sheep women, the man of the house, and the kids were all out on their balcony watching me.   The man just glared at me.  I glared back.  He said "good morning" in English.  Probably the only words he knows.  I told him as best I could in my limited Turkish, that this dog shouldn't be tied up like this.  He/she should be kept next to the house in the shade with water and food.   He  didn't say much, although I didn't give him much of a chance to say anything, but he kept nodding in agreement.   I threw in "cok ayip" a few times (which roughly translates as "shame on you"), then I set off to the village.

I don't know if this dog has returned to the sheep women, as I haven't been down there since yesterday.  I'll know later.

The problem is that when you give advice to these people, they just pay lip service.  They make an attempt to do the right thing for a couple of days, then it's back to their normal neglectful treatment.

It's incredibly frustrating, and I'm not sure if I'll ever get through to them, as long as I live.

12 comments:

  1. I have had many "discussions" with my neighbours about their standard of care for their dogs. It doesn't seem to make a difference in their mind. They continue to treat their animals like "dogs" but not they way you or I would.

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    1. I've had to lower my expectations a good deal Janey, because I know that the people here will not care for their dogs anywhere near as well as I do. So I just try to encourage them to provide the basic needs and hope that the message sinks in eventually, but it is a struggle I agree.

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  2. Yes, they nod and smile and just carry on....until the day someone ties them very tightly to a post in the full sun which is what I would like to do to them.
    Thank goodness you and Mr. A are there to give these poor animals a chance.

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    1. I couldn't repeat what I'd like to do to some of these people Helen. Most of them just humour me...oh it's that stupid foreign woman again. If I didn't have Mr A to fight my corner on occasion, I'd get absolutely nowhere.

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    2. People can be so cruel here. I cannot and will never understand their mentality. It will take decades for some people in Turkey to become more civilized. In this region of the world peoples lives mean nothing, animals are only considered if they make money for the family. Dogs and cats have no chance especially in the villages. Keep giving these so called people hell, you have my utmost respect.f.xxx

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    3. Thankyou Fleur. I know very well that you do the same over your way xxx

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  3. It seems that only in Northern Europe are pets cared for properly & although there is cruelty there are also laws to punish & most people understand that animals deserve to be treated well. This is obviously a cultural thing & an economic one as well & when you look at the map & see where Turkey lies geographically I guess it's not such a surprise that it is so backwards in this respect. And they are not alone - look how the Chinese treat animals - they don't think animals have a soul, ergo they don't feel pain. Having googled this it seems most of eastern Europe plus many asian countries have mass dog killing programmes. The problem is one of education - dogs (& cats even more so) need to be sterilised so that every dog is a wanted dog but I guess this will take time. After all, in fifties, sixties & seventies Britain sterilisation wasn't nearly as common as it is now. I do find the whole situation re the welfare of animals in a lot of the world makes for depressing reading i.e. donkeys for example. I personally think if someone is capable of cruelty to any living thing, either intentionally or through sheer indifference then that person has simply not evolved - they are not human & in fact are probably the missing link.

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    1. I agree with everything you say tricia. I feel the same. There is a neutering programme in Turkey. It's called TNR (trap, neuter and release). Each local authority has to provide a vet and a shelter, and street dogs are supposed to be taken from the streets, neutered, and released again. A few councils are doing this effectively, but sadly it isn't happening in the majority of the country. It is part of the current law here for the protection of animals, but having lived in this country for a long time now I have come to realise that laws are not worth the paper they're written on.

      This is exactly why so many rescue groups have set themselves up all over the country to try and address the problem. But it's just a drop in the ocean, unless the government insist that the law is implemented. We're fighting a bit of a losing battle I'm afraid, but my belief is that it's better to save a few than do nothing at all.

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  4. It seems from what you say that this kind of callous neglect of animals is almost bred in the bone or at least learned from the cradle, Ayak, and that makes it so hard to change. I share your anger and really admire your perseverance. I do hope this little dog gets the chance of a better life.

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    1. I'm not sure the message ever gets through Perpetua. I haven't seen the dog I mentioned for the last two days. He is no longer outside the house, and either he has been moved elsewhere, where I can't see him or he has simply run away. If he has, then he is probably better off than being tied up and virtually left to die slowly.

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  5. Hi Ayak! Sorry you haven't heard from me for quite a time but the truth is I am not so much a doggy person. I hope you will forgive me. But this post strikes a chord as in our village of Assos we have something very similar: they tie their dogs up on a chain that lets them run up and down but doesn't let them free. We have inquired about this because of course they bark their heads off: the answer is 'we are training them' - they have absolutely no idea about how to train dogs.

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    1. Hi Claudia. Of course they have no idea about training, nor are they interested in training their dogs. The sole purpose of tying them up is to protect their property. For the dog to act as a deterrent when anyone comes close. This is ridiculous anyway, because a dog chained up is not going to be able to get to an intruder.

      We have told people endlessly that there is no need to chain them up. If they feed them every day and give fresh water, the dog will stay. He will become territorial and protect them and their property. Naturally if they don't give the dog the basic needs, it will run away. It's simple really, but this advice falls on deaf ears I'm afraid.

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