It goes without saying that what’s happening in the Middle East is devastating. And while it’s not in our own backyard, it’s unfortunately reminiscent of a tragedy that did take place closer to home. Just as evacuees from Hurricane Katrina were forced to leave without their animals, so are Americans fleeing Lebanon. (The French government doesn’t seem to have the same issues that the U.S., the U.K., and Canada do. Good for the French.)
Thankfully, volunteers with the Ahava Project have been busy rescuing and caring for hundreds of abandoned animals. According to Tamara More, “Embassies are telling people, ‘No animals.’ But they’re not bothering to tell people we are ready to help.” The group is also hoping to conduct a boat rescue of animals out of southern Lebanon.
Another organization that’s hard at work is Beirut for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. BETA is caring for animals at various Lebanon shelters despite the ongoing dangers. One of those shelters, housing a couple of hundred animals, was hit by a missile and partially destroyed, so the World Society for the Protection of Animals has allocated funds to allow BETA to continue to provide food, veterinary care, and housing.
I can’t imagine leaving my guys behind for any reason. But if bombs are falling all around you, who knows what you might do. Help make the question academic: Write to the U.S. Embassy and the White House and ask our government to learn from its mistakes and not force American evacuees to leave their companion animals behind. And if you can, make a donation to one of Lebanon’s animal rescue organizations.