|About the Municipality of Fatih – Yedikule Shelter and Rehabilitation Center for Stray Animals
Yedikule Animal Shelter, which is currently home to over 2000 dogs was established in 2001. The shelter covers 2000 square meters of land, and 500 square meters is spared green areas. A total of ten employees are working in the shelter and Mrs. Meral Olcay is the voluntary manager.
Here is how Meral Olcay, the voluntary manager, describes the Fatih Municipality Yedikule Animal Shelter:
What is the story of this shelter?
Since the first day, both our resident dog population and the number of visitors have increased steadily. We host around two to three hundred people every weekend. These visitors are not only from around the shelter; many people come from farther regions of Istanbul such as Pendik, Kartal, Halkali, Izmit. We even had a guest from Gaziantep today. That really makes us happy. Ediz Hun (a famous actor, a former deputy trained in ecology and environment) and Leman Sam (a famous singer and a real supporter of animal rights) are just a few of the people who support us.
You are managing the shelter on a voluntary basis. How do things work here?
Yedikule shelter sets an example for other municipalities. Did any other municipal office ask for your help for their shelter projects?
Do you ever come across visitors who love animals and who want to help out at the shelter?
The shelter has attracted more media attention lately. How did you benefit from the press coverage?
One downside of such press coverage is this: No matter how much we emphasize our need for good homes for our dogs and for help for our resident dogs, more and more people are trying to give away their pets to the shelter. They call us with the excuse that they are no longer able to take care of their dogs, and they let down their old friends. We kindly turn down such inquiries, reminding them of the crowded population of dogs in here. All municipalities in Istanbul have shelters, so we direct them to the appropriate shelter. Fatih Municipality collects the area dogs from the streets and brings them here on a regular basis. We have admitted twenty-five dogs only in the last three days. I have to refuse all other requests, since this shelter aims to serve the municipal area of Fatih. If we run out of capacity, how can we ever help the dogs here?
What does your “Guardian parent project” involve? How can people become guardian parents for the dogs at the Yedikule shelter?
Tinaz Titiz had originally formulated this project. He continuously brainstorms to find new ideas and ways to implement them. He first mentioned this project idea on our opening day. This is a very original idea, probably the first in the world. Some other shelters benefit from it nowadays. When a dog finds a guardian parent, she still stays in the shelter. This does not create an opening for the newcomers, but incumbent dogs can benefit from the support that guardian parents provide for their dogs. The hardest thing for a guardian parent is to choose one specific dog from among the dogs here, because they are all lovable creatures. If the choice is made, the guardian parent is expected to pay for the vaccination expenses, grooming expenses (if any, depending on the breed), and possible treatment costs in case the dog needs medical help. In addition, the guardian parent donates 25 kilograms of dry dog food to the shelter. This way, other dogs can also benefit from this donation. We do not allow guardian parents to take their dog out for a walk very easily. We ask that they come here often, so that we are better able to know one another in person. The duration and frequency of visits help build both our trust and that of the dog. After we fully trust the guardian parents, we allow them to walk around with the dog outside the shelter. We do not allow the guardian parents to take the dog home on a permanent basis. The number of dogs that have a guardian parent is currently around thirty.
What about your adoption activities?
You heavily use the Internet. How did you benefit from this?
What is the daily life like in the shelter?
Each newly admitted dog is observed in isolation for the first ten days. If all goes well at the end of this period, we place them in their new ward depending on their nature. Dogs can bathe in designated places during the summer, and we also have a canine bathroom. Poodles get a shave twice a year. We dispatch sick dogs to the veterinary clinic daily around 13:30-14:00, and they get therapy based on a program. Dogs with cancer get special treatment every Sunday. We clean and disinfect every ward, box, and doghouse twice every year to prevent flea and tick infections. The same frequency applies to regular disinfection. Two thousand dogs receive medication against internal parasites every two months.
We designed the dog wards in such a way that they will be cool in the summer and warm in the spring. None of these wards has a door; they have little boxes. By doing this, we aim to help them feel more at home. Every box is equipped with cutaway carpets, heaters, and little lamps.
What are some of your activities for increasing children’s awareness on the issue?
How about your dogs?
You can also support us by advertising on our website.
Canned dog food is an urgent need at our shelter and it is primarily used for applying medication to puppies and sick dogs. Defrezee, Depomedrol are urgent medical needs. Quilts, matresses, pillows, long-handle brushes, water hoses, and yellow workers boots are also needed.
We have a separate list for our paralyzed dogs:
General needs at the shelter:
The shelter is open to visitors daily from 10:30 to 15:00.
Address: Yedikule Sahil Yolu, Surdibi, Eski havagazı deposu (Please follow the seaside. The upper alley is closed due to road construction.)
Phone: (212) 633-5857, Mobile: (535) 712-6390, Fax: (212) 633-5857
Translation: Lale Kuyucu Azak