Just twelve months ago we wrote to you announcing the founding of Animals Lebanon, and today we are happy to announce our first anniversary.
On September 9, 2009, Animals Lebanon turned one year old.
It did not seem long ago that we were sitting in the Ministry every day for a month pushing them to process our paperwork so that we were officially rescued.
Our celebration of finally being registered did not last long though, we formed Animals Lebanon as there is so much work to do here and we had to get started.
We became members of the World Society for the Protection of Animals, the Middle East Network for Animal Welfare, the World veterinary Service, and I was appointed as the Lebanese Ambassador to World Animals Day.
A Trap Neuter Return voucher program was introduced for the first time to Lebanon, giving the public a way to join our efforts and help stop suffering before it starts. An expert vet from abroad came to help train local vets on large scale TNR projects, and dozens of cats were saved from poisoning on a local university campus after they were all spayed and neutered.
To make a real change we need the help and support of the local community. We participated in the Beirut Marathon and the spring Garden Show, directly reaching thousands of people to explain about our and work and how anyone can join us.
A Christmas time event at the Children?s Cancer brought the joy of animals to some very deserving kids, and they each received a booklet with each page designed by our supporters. Volunteer days were help at local universities, giving students the opportunity to use their knowledge to help turn Animals Lebanon into a professional organization.
Our shelter allowed us to rescue more than 200 cats and dogs. Whether Truman, the Husky shot in his back, or Leila, the kitten stuck in a sewer, abused and forgotten pets were given another chance at life.
Thanks to MixFM, we had more than 30 kittens adopted in just one month. People as far away as Belgium, the US, and Holland have heard the stories of some of our most loving pets and opened their homes to them.
More and more people within Lebanon are recognizing that pet shops should be avoided and a cat or dog rescued from Animals Lebanon makes a wonderful companion.
In February we were able to close down a dilapidated zoo, rescuing 39 animals. Many of these animals had spent their entire lives in captivity, and they were barely holding on when we stumbled across the zoo. Most animals were able to be cared for locally, but three endangered monkeys were sent to a primate sanctuary in Wales with the help of MEA.
Just two weeks ago we were finally able to rescue the remaining two animals at the zoo. Kira and Big Mama, two bears that were born in captivity and used as part of a circus, ended up at the zoo 15 years ago.
After nine months of negotiations we were finally able to secure their freedom. Late at night they were loaded into their transport crates and onto the plane, and finally made it the next day to the beautiful sanctuary in Turkey.
As Kira and Big Mama were finally able to enjoy themselves and act like bears for the first time in their lives, we were so pleased to be able to know that the zoo was finally emptied and no animals would have to suffer their again.
While we are proud of everything we have accomplished so far, this is just a small start and a tiny step to bringing about a culture in Lebanon that embraces animals. Expect much more from us in the coming twelve months ? more community involvement, more uplifting stories that show why our work is so important, and many more animals saved.
We owe our success to you, and the next year will only be possible with your continued support. Thank you to all the businesses in Lebanon that provided goods and services. Thank you to all the volunteers who worked tirelessly to rescue animals and help make our events successful.
Thank you to all of our wonderful supporters, your donations and encouragement is what keeps us motivated and energized.
It was truly an exciting year, and all of us at Animals Lebanon look forward to starting this next year with you on our side.