PAKO wants to change people’s view on stray animals in Iraq

PAKO want to change people's view on stray animals in Iraq
Stray dog with cancer in Iraq, credit: still from video PAKO

Protecting Animals in Kurdistan Organization (PAKO) is spreading awareness about stray animals in Iraq by helping injured dogs and cats.

PAKO volunteers and veterinary students provide animals in the city of Sulaimaniyah with shelter, feed them, clean their wounds and show them love.

They are trying to raise awareness by publishing videos on social media and showing the harm being done to animals in the city, mostly stray dogs who are hit by cars or poisoned.

“Most of the cases that we deal with, we get phone calls from people telling us about car accidents, usually dogs. The way we deal with it as a team is that we provide them with pain killers and vitamin K to stop any bleeding that is occurring,” veterinary student Rava Obaid told news agency Reuters.

“We take them to veterinary clinics to provide them with other veterinary medical stuff that they need, such as surgery or stitching their wounds,” she said. “We need to provide them with a clean shelter so they can recover in it.”

“Their emotional aspect is very important too. We need to make them feel safe and make them know that they are going to be okay,” Obaid added.

A project to trap–neuter–return (TNR) was launched to collect stray animals, neuter them, make sure they are healed, and then release them. The animals are then tagged to let the public know they have been fixed.

PAKO was launched in 2018 in Iraq with around 35 volunteers. “From the beginning, we faced many difficulties due to the lack of awareness among people when it comes to animal welfare,” Farman Aziz Salih, a volunteer at PAKO, said.

“But we took the initiative to publish videos of stray animals being killed by shooting or using toxic substances, and the harm these practices cause to these stray dogs, until things changed and people understood the situation and cooperated with us in bringing these dogs to the veterinary clinic,” he added.

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