While terrified residents in the north remain prisoners in their homes, another kind of humanitarian disaster is taking place on the streets. Starving and dehydrated cats and dogs, some injured, many lost, are running in panic from the explosions of rockets. Some residents left their cats and dogs behind when they evacuated, believing they would return soon. In other cases, animals fled the sound of missiles, became disoriented, and lost their way. Without food and water, they are desperate for help.
At midnight, the delivery van carrying the much-needed supplies pulled in to Nes Amim, where it was met by the coordinator for volunteers in the north. While rockets exploded in the background, local Dutch and German residents helped unload bag after bag of food and begin the distribution process. Afterwards, Hakol Chai’s rescue team quickly moved on to Akko, responding to a report of animals abandoned in cages behind a house. As they went, they saw dogs and cats desperate for food and water everywhere on the streets.
Entering the back yard location in search of the animals, Hakol Chai’s team was soon joined by police, alerted by neighbors alarmed by the sounds in the night. As soon as the police took stock of the situation, they joined Hakol Chai’s efforts. Three dogs, eight puppies, pigeons and rabbits in small cages, 20 chickens, parrots, and numerous cats had been abandoned. All animals were fed and watered, and the volunteer coordinator was alerted. The animals are now being transported to foster homes until permanent ones can be found. The team worked until 3 A.M. putting out food and water on the streets of the city and in backyards. Then the noise of the explosions grew louder, and they were forced to head south.
“We are obligated to care for animals in the line of fire, too,” says Yadin Elam, Director of Hakol Chai. “We cannot watch these terrible scenes day after day and fail to act.”
Egg farmers report that due to stress, cows are producing less milk, and the shells of chicken eggs are so thin they fall apart in their hands when they try to pick them up. 17 cows and 7 calves were killed by bombs falling on Kibbutz Amir, near Kiryat Shmona. Three dogs were killed when a bomb hit a house in Kiryat Shmona inside which they had been tied up and left by their guardian, who evacuated the area. Two more dogs were killed on the streets. Some animals have been injured. Fire fighters are working to extinguish the fires in the northern forests, but many animals, including endangered eagles, may perish.
CHAI is a 501 (c)(3) organization registered with the U.S. government. Hakol Chai is an official charity registered with the Israeli government. The organization helps animals in Israel through legislation, education, and direct support. Donations to the organization’s relief efforts can be made through its website, www.chai-online.org, or can be mailed to Hakol Chai, POB 51858, Tel Aviv 67214, or in the U.S., to CHAI, POB 3341, Alexandria, VA 22302, USA.