Woman makes it her mission to rescue street dogs in Jordan

Aqaba’s Al Rabee Society for Nature and Animal Protection, the first shelter in Jordan for lost, stray and abandoned dogs, recently told The Jordan Times that they have only had 10 adoptions in the past two years.

The society, which voluntarily works to look after homeless animals, was founded five years ago in Aqaba, 330km south of Amman, the society’s Executive Director Rodica Athamneh told the Jordan Times on Tuesday.


“Citizens keep complaining of stray dogs, which have no fault but trying to find food.”


The shelter is located outside Aqaba on a piece of land provided by the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority, according to Athamneh.

“We receive dogs at the shelter, and we provide them with food and healthcare and we arrange for neutering operations,” she said, adding that neutering is practiced in most countries to reduce the number of stray dogs.

Rodica Athamneh checks the dogs at the Al Rabee Society for Nature and Animal Protection. “There is a fear of animals in Jordan, it’s almost a phobia, people don’t like being close to – not only dogs but also cats – they are frightened of them,” said Athamneh.

So far, efforts to reduce the number of stray dogs in Jordan have been based on shooting or poisoning them, which is “inhumane”, Athamneh said, adding that there should be more shelters in Jordan.

The society’s shelter currently hosts around 300 dogs and is overcrowded, according to Athamneh, who added that the society finds it difficult to release the dogs even after neutering them as “people do not want dogs”.

In running the shelter, the society depends entirely on donations made by local and international organisations and individuals, the director said, noting that most of the people who donate and adopt dogs at the shelter are from either Europe or America.

Rodica Athamneh carries a dog after it underwent surgery.

More funds are required to cover the expenses of neutering operations and provide food and shelter, which is currently only provided by volunteers, she said.

To make up for the funding shortfall, “the dogs now feed on leftovers collected from restaurants in Aqaba”, Ahamneh said.

The society welcomes anyone that wants to adopt a dog, however, they should return the dog to the shelter if they cannot keep it anymore, the executive director said, adding that of the 10 dogs adopted in the past couple of years, two of them ended up returning to the shelter on their own.

Dr. Cornel Stoenescu performs surgery for a dog. The shelter receives occasional support from international initiatives. In June, two veterinarians from the Nomad Vet group paid a visit to the shelter to give a hand in treating and neutering the animals. “The purpose is to help in the shelter, this shelter here, to operate 100 dogs, to support the shelter, because it was very difficult for Mrs. Rodica to do all the things here,” said Stoenescu.

In previous remarks to the Jordan Times, animal rights advocate Khaleda Khatatneh claimed that hundreds of dogs were shot by citizens in the South Mazar and Moab areas of Karak Governorate, “with the approval and knowledge of the municipality”.

“Citizens keep complaining of stray dogs, which have no fault but trying to find food,” she told The Jordan Times.

“Sterilisation is the only solution. These are living souls that have rights just like people do,” Khatatneh said.

Source: Jordan Times