Hope in Bolu

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Is not enough to be compassionate. You must act! . Amy Bartell

A week ago the world was shaken by the pictures taken at the shelter in Bolu, Turkey. They showed a situation far beyond the acceptable. Hundreds of neglected animals, crammed in an impossibly small space, waiting to die.

The pictures and the accompanying video went around the world and a massive direct-action campaign was launched. In a surprise move we published the personal mobile phone of the Mayor of Bolu and asked you to send him an SMS, urging to take action and take steps to take control of the situation.

The response was incredible. The Mayor received thousands of SMS’s a day. He was truly was shocked by the intensity of our feelings.

Then, he did something that very few mayors in Turkey had done before. He took positive action and opened a direct line of dialogue. We were given assurances that steps had been taken to improve the situation.

Then, on the weekend, three of us took a road trip to Bolu.

Here are some of the steps that have been taken in Bolu so far and a summary of steps to be taken from this moment on.

- A massive new enclosure has been built. All animals that a week ago were crammed in one space are now in a large area running free.

- New areas are currently being built for the quarantine and treatment of dogs affected with mange and infectious diseases.

- Let’s Adopt! will work with the Bolu Municipality in coordinating the correct implementation of a Neuter and Release program. Healthy animals neutered during 2010 will be gradually returned to the location where they were originally collected. Small dogs and animals whose condition does not allow their return to the streets will be rehomed through a newly set up adoption program.

- A comprehensive trainning/education program will be set up in Bolu. We will incorporate the youth of Bolu into a city-wide volunteer program.

- Let’s Adopt! will reach out to its international network if/when assistance is needed.

We are all presented with a unique opportunity here. A Mayor has shown political will and the wish to turn a bad situation around. Whilst the prevalent attitude in Turkey seems to be one of merely “managing” the problem Let’s Adopt! will work will work towards a solution.

There is much to be done. Many hours of hard work, success and dissapointments, but we are hopeful something will be achieved in Bolu.

Please get involved. We need you all, locals and foreigners, media, private citizens and corporations based in Bolu to help us this into a success story that opens a wave of change that extends along the entire nation.

You do not manage a social wrong. You should be ending it.

Viktor Larkhill


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10 comments

  1. Beverley Hill says:

    Fantastic I am so pleased about this at last a mayor that cares , hopefully others will follow suit

  2. cinzia says:

    great news!

  3. janet hansen says:

    Gives one hope that the situation worldwide can be changed in our lifetime. What an accomplishment in only one week, and kudos to the mayor of Bolu for changing his attitude, instead of digging his heels in, which even in the ‘States seems to be more the norm – for example Warren County Animal Control. a truly heartwarming article.

  4. Pat G says:

    This seems unbelievable. Like a miracle …. How wonderful and how busy this will be

  5. maeshelle says:

    how wonderful to see progress and know you are part of changing things for a better future. you call for our involvement…what can we do to help from outside turkey? definately willing to do what i can :-)

  6. Donde B. says:

    Viktor – this is wonderful news, not just for the animals but for you personally. Your frustration over the last year has been apparent (and shared). I hope that these positive changes will help feed your soul and re-energize you and your partners to keep fighting for change. You ARE making a tremendous difference, even when it doesn’t seem like it.

  7. Kamil Arıkut says:

    What a success story !!!!!!!!!
    Then they killed all of the dogs you have seen and visited in Bolu shelter, dont be naive and trust crooked politicians in Turkey please, especially if they are not seculars but Muslim hypocrites. They’ll lie their eyes out.

  8. Diana C says:

    Viktor, what a good job! It is great that the mayor cared and took action to correct this situation. It is a world wide tragedy, the overpopulation of dogs and cats. Spay and neuter and adoption are the only solutions.

  9. Viktor Larkhill says:

    Hi Kamil..

    No… that is not true. The injured and sick dogs were on treatment on a different area of the shelter.

    I know because İ got to see them and helped organized new recovery rooms.

    Nobody likes politicians less than me, but in this case they improved things.

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