Uncontrolled animal shelters continue to thrive

LAHOR:

Animal welfare organizations are not getting the attention of the many nonprofit human welfare groups in the country. Yet they offer hope, relief services, and shelter to creatures who have no voice.

Dozens of social media pages and websites that function as animal welfare organizations are adorned with photos of rescued pets, especially injured dogs, cats, donkeys and horses. Like other organizations, animal rescue groups collect donations from home and abroad to fund their operations. However, a survey found that most animal welfare organizations are not registered with the government. What most of these social media animal rescue NGOs have in common are personal addresses instead of offices and personal bank account numbers for fundraising.

The investigation reveals that people pose for photos with injured animals or birds and share them on social media in the hope of illegally collecting donations. The lack of control and balance in this regard has an impact on animal shelters that are genuine.

Zofishan Umair set up JFK Animal Rescue and Shelter in Lahore, after his companion dog was killed by a dog killing squad. Speaking to the Express Tribune, she mentioned that, including her own, there are only three registered animal welfare NGOs in the city. She runs her shelter with the help of friends and family and is the only one providing an ambulance rescue service for injured animals. She said: “everything [JFK’s] the accounts are open to donors and regular audits are carried out.

Aniza Khan, General Manager of Give us Life Animal Welfare, and her sister have turned their home into a shelter for dogs and cats roaming the streets. Aniza hopes one day to open a real refuge for all the cats housed in her yard and roof. Aniza’s main obstacle is the lack of funds.

Aniza said that just as some people fundraise by setting up bogus NGOs in the name of human welfare, similar complaints are being raised regarding animal welfare as well and it is up to the government to take action against these people.

Sources from the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) said that funds received by animal welfare organizations are scrutinized in the same way as funds received by human welfare NGOs. They warned that if a person sets up a fake NGO on social media and solicits donations on their personal account, they will be prosecuted according to the law, but they have not received any such complaints.

Posted in The Express Tribune, July 4e, 2021.


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