Dubai’s oldest dog shelter at risk of closing after financial difficulties

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K9 Friends, one of Dubai’s oldest dog shelters for stray animals, has announced that it may be forced to close after public sponsorship wanes.

For more than 30 years, the center – which has a capacity of 130 stray dogs – has been run solely by volunteers who provide maintenance, animal care and focus on placing the dogs in the right families.

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It is also run solely through the sponsorship of members of the public.

Over the past three decades, the center has helped rehome thousands of dogs in need.

However, dwindling funds forced the shelter to close permanently, despite being one of the few rescue houses in the emirate providing shelter for strays and abandoned animals across the UAE.

In a statement, K9 Friends – established in 1989 – said it is constantly full of dogs in need of homes, but a lack of sponsorships can mean it can no longer function.

“Unfortunately, the past few years have been difficult for everyone, and it is with heavy hearts that K9 Friends is now in financial difficulty,” the statement read. “Without official help, we can no longer bear the financial burden of DEWA, ​​maintenance, insurance, staff costs and veterinary bills that are all associated with running a relocation centre.”

K9 Friends running costs are around $22,000 per month. In May, they received just over $5,000 in sponsorship, about a quarter of what they need to stay afloat, the rescue organization said.

“K9 Friends has been a local institution for over 30 years; it started as a small group of volunteers helping staycation and abandoned dogs in the United Arab Emirates. With the support of an amazing team of volunteers and sponsorships, they have literally helped rehome thousands of dogs.

“K9 Friends has helped dogs and family in so many ways. Not just in dog homing, but also with medical emergencies that arise. Ensuring that all dogs in our care are spayed and vaccinated.

“We have never been in this situation where we had to directly ask for help, but COVID-19 has hit us hard and we see no way out of this current situation.

“If K9 Friends does not receive immediate help, they will be forced to close the doors in the next few months.”

The organization told Al Arabiya English that with sufficient sponsorship, it will be able to continue serving stray animals in the UAE.

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