Animal rescue shelter in Afghanistan needs help

Paula Duffy's picture

The only animal rescue shelter in Afghanistan sent out a plea for help. It is being evicted from its location by the government.

Nowzad, the shelter that rescues abandoned and stray animals including dogs, cats and even donkeys has survived war-ravaged Afghanistan for more than five years.

Animal rescue became a focus of a British soldier, a member of the Royal Marines. According to, Sergeant Pen Farthing and others in the British military contingent became attached to some of the local dogs and cats and wanted to be able to bring them home once their tours were completed.

According to Ariel Wulff, an author, artist and animal advocate, Afghanistan is one of a multitude of countries in the region that doesn't put an emphasis on animal welfare and there is a distinct lack of care for the overwhelming number of strays and abandoned animals.

Nowzad was named for the village, Now Zad in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan, where the British soldiers were deployed. It is run on a charitable basis, mostly by volunteers and Seargeant Farthing said that one of the first orders of business was to educate the local residents about how to care for the numerous strays in the area, particularly dogs.

The success of Nowzad is also counted by the number of animals that are sent home to their soldier-owners once they leave military service. The service men and women took in abused or stray animals against orders. If they manage to keep them while deployed, the attachment is difficult to break.

"Most people don’t realize the connection that Soldiers and animals make while in a combat zone,” said Lt. Col. Joseph Crocitto, U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command Strategy and Policy Branch chief, G-3.

Late last week, Nowzad sounded the alarm that it would cease to exist in three months without building their own structure in Kabul.

"For five years, we have tirelessly rescued stray and abandoned animals living in the most appalling conditions in Afghanistan. We have until July to fund and build a new shelter in Kabul. If we fail, Nowzad will close. The 90 dogs and cats currently in our care will become homeless and countless more will be sentenced to a life of despair on the unforgiving Afghan streets." Video posted below.

The animal rescue shelter estimates it will need $250,000 to build the new facility. Donations are being taken via Nowzad's website and via mail. There are links on the site for both residents of the UK and the U.S. and a mailing address in the U.K .

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