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There are an estimated 500 million stray animals in the world. 75% of them are dogs. 
Stray animal control is one of the biggest problems that animals in Egypt face: they are shot and poisoned to control their population. They are also taken off the streets by the School of Veterinary Medicine, where they are used as subjects for students to practice on – some of the traumas they suffer is being operated on without anaesthesia, and animal testing.
The public is also unsympathetic to the animals: young children drown puppies and kittens in canals and the Nile; they torture and beat them; they tie them with ropes. Many citizens also go on poisoning sprees, in an attempt to empty the streets of animals.

Photo: WSPA on a visit to Egypt

At large, the Egyptian community is not always sympathetic to animals; stray animal control methods are inhumane, be they governmental or individual. Therefore, S.P.A.R.E. does not support organized feedings of stray animals on the city streets.
S.P.A.R.E. believes that should individuals undertake feeding animals in a public place (street, building garden etc), it must be done responsibly and with regards to both the safety of the animal, and the impact of that act on the community.

Download our guide to feeding strays using the Five Freedoms for Animals


An act of kindness that led to death
The following story is one of the reasons that we don’t advocate feeding stray animals. People are not sympathetic to animals in general, so feeding them in a public place where animals are feared is an injustice to the animals.

This is the story as told in a letter from the woman who was feeding stray dogs.

I have known these two amazing dogs for the past nine months, which is when I moved here (to Mohandeseen, Cairo) from NY.

“Black Jack” (the small female) first started coming around every time I would walk “Lord”, my German shepherd, whom I adopted from the SPARE shelter here in August 2006. BJ was very shy in the beginning but yet very curious. Soon, Lord and BJ started looking for each other on every outing. Little by little I was able to approach her further until the day I was finally able to touch her. She was immediately affectionate and soon came racing towards us, whenever she would spot us, with her whole body wagging with joy. She accompanied us on every walk and came to cuddle wherever we would stop. But she remained very wary of any and all strangers, going into hiding as soon as another human or car approached. Smart girl! I brought her food & water daily and soon after, we met BJ’s pal “Bandit.” His tail never stopped wagging and he loved to sit in front of me having his chest massaged. I was now walking with 3 dogs daily J and we so enjoyed each others’ company.

Every evening, as Lord would be at home eating his dinner, I would bring food and water to my two strays. They lived in an abandoned back garden, two buildings next to mine, shielded from the dangers, strangers and killers of the street. But instead of filling their bellies, they would be practically glued to me, each wanting their fair share of hugs and belly rubs. When it was time for me to leave, they would follow me to the front of my building, ‘waving’ their tails good-night and then run off.
The workers and security guards of the entire street knew me and my ‘kids’ by now and looked on in amazement at the affection BJ & Bandit showed Lord and I. Only us… nobody else was ever able to approach them, they would run away. Thank God!
BJ gave birth to two litters during these past nine months and both times lost her puppies. The last time she gave birth, I even had two other women (one Italian, the other Bulgarian) taking care of her and her new family. Even the workers kept an eye on them, but to no avail. Schoolchildren took her five babies away and God only knows the cruelty they acted out on them. We all tried to find the school kids and the puppies but were unsuccessful. I will never forget the sadness in her eyes for the days following her loss. Bandit was by her side the entire time, consoling her.

At any given time, day or night, all I would have to do is whistle “our” tune and both would come racing down the street to greet me, no matter where they were or what they were doing. One evening, as a friend was driving me home, I spotted them two streets away from their garden, just wandering around. I rolled down the window, whistled and the excitement on their faces was priceless! They ran after the car until I got out, jumping on me and squealing with joy.

And suddenly a new face! A large yellow male, I affectionately call him “Shadow”, because he is so very shy. He would never come close to me but would always be around BJ & Bandit, hiding in the shadows.

A few days later, there was “Daisy-May”, the beauty queen and love-bug. This small grey-white female German shepherd mix must have been recently abandoned, since she is so very affectionate and trusting. I spotted her outside my window one evening and ran down to the street to see who she was. Well, she saw me and snuggled up to my leg, sat down in front of me looking up as if to say “Well, it’s about time you showed up. Can we go home now?” She followed me into the building, up the stairs and into my apartment!!! I fed her, gave her water and she felt completely at home. For 30 minutes… then she wanted to go back outside. We found BJ, Bandit and Shadow and Daisy-May joined them, as if they had been a family all of their lives. Off they went, happily wagging their tails and frolicking down the street.

Unfortunately we live on the same block as the Egyptian Minister of Interior. A recent front-page newspaper article by the Egyptian Minister of Health, ordering a massive and aggressive killing project for stray dogs. We knew we had to act immediately. Trying to coordinate our efforts, time and talents, we fell one day short.

On the morning of May 14, 2007, Black Jack and Bandit were shot and killed right in front of my building. At 8:00am, two shots were fired, which I never heard, since I was in the shower.

That same evening, around 10:00pm, I went outside with food and water for their nightly meal. The next door building workers approached me and told me what had happened. I did not believe them, until they all told me how very sorry they were. Suddenly my knees felt weak and I had serious trouble making it back into my apartment, tears now streaming down my face. Back inside I broke down in pure hysteria, with my husband trying to stop me from shaking. Then rage set in and I needed to find them. With my husband practically carrying me, we found them right on our corner. There they were, huddled together, dead. I only saw them for a split second before I started to shake and sob so hard, that my husband had to bring me back upstairs. Mona arrived shortly after and was able to catch Daisy-May, but Shadow just ran away. We are still searching for him.

Black Jack and Bandit did not deserve this, may they rest in peace! These were two of the kindest, sweetest dogs I have ever had the privilege to care for. Their spirits will give me the strength, energy and determination needed to put a stop to these brutal practices.

It is incomprehensible to me how this country, which prides themselves on being so “westernized”, can kill animals in broad daylight - in front of children. What are they trying to teach them? That it is ok to treat dogs so cruelly, or any animal for that matter, that their lives are less valuable? My dogs were lucky enough to have had a 'foreigner' care for them, even if it was only for a short time. There are countless other canines who are not as fortunate; enduring hatred, torture, abuse and eventually death.
I am sickened and saddened to witness this country regressing daily. My departure is imminent, but before I leave here I will make sure that the entire world hears of this.
American Expat (Egypt)

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