Animal shelters in Egypt are struggling to care for their dogs and cats, with fewer donations and an increase in prices of mostly imported food and medicine, fuelled by the devaluation of the Egyptian pound.
For the Rouh animal shelter in Giza, the current financial crisis and rise in prices meant they might stop taking in new stray animals and will only care for the ones they already shelter.
The animal shelter hosts 320 dogs and 50 cats. Owners Basma Ahmed and her husband Mohamed Mahmoud told news agency Reuters their monthly spendings have doubled.
“Food is the costliest spending. We can’t feed the animals dry food every day because it’s very expensive.” Mahmoud said, adding that medication has also gotten very expensive.
Since last March, the Egyptian pound has fallen by nearly 50%. “Donations definitely decreased because everyone is facing a crisis now. It’s not a problem for us only, everyone has (financial) problems. Salaries are the same and prices are doubling,” Ahmed said.
“Therefore, this reflects on the donations, which are decreasing. For example, if someone used to donate 100 Egyptian pounds (3.34 USD), they only donate 50 Egyptian pounds (1.67 USD) now,” she added.
The couple fears they can’t take in any new animals: “We won’t leave the dogs out on the streets, for sure, because if our dogs go out on the streets, they will die. So we will stay responsible for the animals already in the shelter. Many shelters have closed, but we can’t do this, there’s no place to leave the animals. We will stay together here, but we will totally stop receiving new cases (animals).”
Stray animals, particularly street dogs and cats, are a common sight in Egypt. The government and local authorities do not have efficient programs to help stray animals, and many are subjected to mistreatment and abuse.
The lack of spaying and neutering programs contributes to the overpopulation of stray animals, and many also suffer from disease and malnutrition. Some animal shelters in Egypt are working to provide care and rehabilitation for homeless animals, but the issue remains a significant challenge.