Sisters struggle to provide shelter and food for stray dogs in Libya

Woman plays with dogs on sand street, animal news
Ibtisam bin Omran runs The Libyan Society for the Welfare of Street Animals with her sister, Benghazi, Libya, credit: Reuters/Esam Omran Al-Fetori

The sisters Ibtisam and Rabia Bin Omran feed more than 150 dogs and cats at their shelter, the Libyan Society for the Welfare of Street Animals, in Benghazi. They created a refuge for animals during the war when dogs and cats used to flee bullets and bombs.

“I am doing this because of the war because I was in a frontline between the frontline and a safe area,” the 53-year-old Ibtisam told news agency Reuters. “So dogs used to run away from the war and come to me.”

“Some people returned dogs to the frontlines! If humans could not live under fire and fled, why were they returning dogs to these areas?” she added.

“We rent a land where we house a group of dogs, most of whom are injured. Some of them are better, but others aren’t. There are some who cannot live in the streets because they are paralyzed,” Ibtisam said.

The sisters sold most of their belongings to afford the food and medicine needed for the animals: “We founded the association three years ago, aimed at raising awareness of the animals’ right to a good life.”

“We face major difficulties in getting the food because we feed 100-150 dogs daily and 50 cats. Most people here are not cooperative or helpful, only a few are. We asked restaurants for help, but unfortunately, none supported us,” Ibtisam said.

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