2021 Aug 22
Sri Lanka is home to a vast array of wildlife. Even though our jungle-dwelling, multi-coloured fauna is highly celebrated, let’s leave them out for a while. That’s because yesterday was Homeless Animal Day, and as such, why don’t we take a look at our furry four-legged friends who live much closer to home? Stray cats and dogs may seem like an urban problem, but these animals are only victims who cannot help but wander the streets in search of food and shelter. But, thanks to a few dedicated organisations stepping up, these poor and adorable animals can finally be given a home. So, let’s take a look at the people who strive for this higher cause.
AWPA (Animal Welfare and Protection Association)
This Animal shelter organisation is one of the oldest in the Island and is dedicated to its cause of rehabilitating stray dogs and cats. Founded in the early 60’s by a small group of individuals, AWPA has grown through the years and taken care of hundreds of animals and saved many lives in the process. AWPA has two separate animal shelters – one in Dehiwala and the other in Kahatuduwa. AWPA also promotes the spaying and neutering of dogs and cats in order to control the stray animal population and the spread of rabies as well.
Website: Home Page (awpasl.org)
Facebook: AWPA Sri Lanka
Tel: Sterilization and Adoption : 0776 565 181 (Mrs. Iromi Salgado)
Sponsoring a meal: 0112 587 116 (Mrs. Surangani De Silva)
Animal SOS Sri Lanka
Located deep in the lush southern edge of Sri Lanka, there lies a sanctuary. A sanctuary for homeless and wounded. A sanctuary for our furry friends. Even though Animal SOS stands so removed from the urban environment, they do a lot of good by taking care of the animals that live within their sanctuary. Animal SOS also provides veterinary care and uses techniques like hydrotherapy with dogs that have lost the use of their legs. Founded in 2009, Animal SOS is a British Charity that is focused on helping street animals. They also take steps in educating people on neutering and sterilising animals in order to prevent the growing population of stray animals.
The Cameron Dog Foundation
Founded in 2017, this Animal Shelter is also a British Charity that takes care of 30 or so animals in their shelter at Bandaragama. The Cameron Dog Foundation is unique since it offers to rehabilitate and rehome strays on an international level. Although the process can get a bit drawn out owing to the fact that Sri Lanka has a high number of rabies cases, 5 months is a necessary precaution. And they take care of the paperwork as well! Their website on rehoming gives a description of the process for dogs and cats separately and the amount it would cost. This is of course in addition to the spaying and neutering services they offer.
Baw Waw Animal Welfare
Baw Waw uses its very own Trap, Neuter and Release (TNR) programs to address the issue of increasing stray populations. According to Baw Waw, they’ve already neutered 2,500 dogs and cats. Although it does seem paltry in the face of a massive total of 5 million strays island wide, every single effort will matter in the long run. Baw Waw also conducts workshops on educating people on the benefits of neutering and spaying, which serves to increase general awareness among the public.
The Dogstar Foundation is unique in its process of solving the growing number of stray dogs and cats within Sri Lanka. This is because of its take on Animal Shelters, and Dogstar focuses its efforts more on spaying/neutering and vaccinating dogs and cats. They have a world class veterinary team and a separate team for surveying and collecting data off the streets. And then there is the truck. A mobile veterinary clinic, Dogstar has the mobility that other organisations may lack, and since they’re not focused on animal sheltering, this is quite an effective way of contributing to creating a better tomorrow for street animals.
Tails of Freedom
Located right in the giant artery of Colombo, or Galle Road as some people call it, Tails of Freedom is a much more urban establishment compared to the others. They also have quite the educational social media presence. Their “Know Your Breed” series on Instagram is quite entertaining as it is informative, and the fact that they do it in English, Sinhala and Tamil is all the more impressive!
One of the most popular organisations promoting homeless animal welfare, Embark has become a phenomenon in itself. The method in which Embark uses fashion as a means to spread awareness and educate people while funding itself is quite remarkable. Embark is also one of the largest organisations dedicated to this cause with over 1,000 volunteers working towards rescuing, rehoming and vaccinating stray animals.
Operating under the motto “Adopt Love, Don’t Shop”, AdopteesLK is a rehoming organisation. Adoptees is a service that connects fosters who have either strays or pets and want to rehome them. Adoptees after receiving the information would circulate this information through social media and then hopefully give an animal a loving home.
Starting off as a CNVR (Catch-Neuter-Vaccinate-Release) project where dogs would be taken off the street and then released, WeCare has evolved into a fully functioning veterinary clinic where stray animals can be treated. WeCare is also one of the two veterinary hospitals with in-patient facilities outside Colombo. Operating with an international staff, WeCare is a great example of how people can come together from diverse places for a good cause.
Website: WECare Worldwide | Run By UK Vets For Sri Lankan Street Dogs
Facebook: WECare Worldwide
Keep in mind that all of these organisations are volunteer based, non-profit organisations, and they are essential in the fight against the spread of more and more strays suffering on roadsides. These organisations work for the benefit of everyone, and they would appreciate any help that they can get. So, on Homeless Animal Day, lets try and help our friends in any way that we can. And have we missed anyone? Please let us know!