Rescuing Animals from the Israel-Hamas War

Rescuing a lost dog in the south. Image credit: Let the Animals Live.

In times of conflict, such as the Israel-Hamas war, innocent cats, dogs, horses, donkeys, and other animals suffer horrendously. Thankfully, animal rescue organizations are often there to help. Let’s look at the organizations that are working tirelessly in Israel and Gaza to save the lives of countless animals.

What the Israel-Hamas War Means for Animals

Since the war between Israel and Hamas broke out in October 2023, animals on both sides have faced grueling conditions. Plenty of animals in southern Israel and Gaza have lost families and are without the necessities of life. In fact, the biggest challenge facing animals in Gaza right now is the blockade limiting their access to food, water, and general aid. Supplies are diminishing fast, costs are rising, and people are trying to stockpile as much as possible.

Similarly, the war has trapped animals in houses in Israel without food or water. Their families have either died or fled to safer zones, says Shannon Edwards from Network for Animals (NFA). “The animals thus have no access to food, water, or safe shelter and are at grave risk of starving to death or being killed or injured in an explosion.” Even animals who are still with their families may not have food because there aren’t any shops open.

Getting Food to Animals in Need

Several rescue organizations like NFA are working around the clock to help the animals in Israel and Gaza. Let the Animals Live (LTAL) have “been distributing cat and dog food [daily in] combat zones in the south and north and hand out pet food,” says Rona from LTAL. “Our teams also place out food in areas that have been evacuated, where community cats have been left alone, and continue to rescue abandoned and injured animals.”

Coordinating Help for Animals Affected by the Israel-Hamas War

The war has also left injured animals trapped or abandoned by families who fled or died. The animals that survive “are starving, suffering from severe injuries – including burn wounds and broken limbs – and are experiencing terrible psychological trauma amid relentless airstrikes and shelling,” says Edwards. Additionally, many terrified pets are running away and getting hurt.

Following the Gaza evacuation order, many pet parents couldn’t take their animals, so they had to leave them behind. NFA has also been coordinating with other dedicated organizations in both Israel and Gaza to such reach animals.

LTAL is taking in abandoned and injured animals from the military. They house them in their shelter in Kfar Ruth. Here, they treat the animals and reunite them with their parents or place them in foster homes.

Sulala Animal Rescue (SAR) in Gaza cares for dogs and cats in its shelter, foster homes and on the streets. You can see smoke from the shelling and hear thundering explosions from the shelter, so the animals experience constant fear. After Gaza residents evacuated, SAR risked their lives to help bring animals to safer areas in the south. NFA has been funding SAR with critical supplies as stockpiles of food, fuel, water, and medicines run low.

Starting Over Sanctuary (SOS) in Netanya, Israel, has taken in over 80 abandoned cats, dogs, donkeys, and horses. They have also delivered one ton of food for hungry, suffering, and trapped cats in the war zones. NFA has rushed funds to help with SOS’s rising food and medical bills for animals since the start of the war.

Stories of Success from the Frontlines of the Israel-Hamas War

LTAL rescued Snow the dog from the Be’eri kibbutz in southern Israel after her parent died. LTAL came to the scene with military support to rescue Snow and transfer her back to the safety of their shelter in Kfar Ruth. Snow will go to a foster home.

SAR rescued three missing dogs trapped in Gaza City. When their dad fled Gaza, he approached SAR with a desperate plea to help find his pups. Despite the extreme risk, SAR went in and picked up the dogs, bringing the animals back to their dad. They also provided him with food for his dogs.

Israeli soldiers discovered Blinky the donkey trapped in the throes of war-torn chaos. She was pregnant and started to give birth due to extreme stress. While she was attempting to give birth, the baby became stuck and sadly died. SOS rescued Blinky and rushed her to the hospital for emergency treatment. She is now out of the hospital and will undergo rehabilitation at SOS’s sanctuary.

How You Can Help

NFA explains that the most critical need is ongoing pet food, medicines, and veterinary care donations. By supporting their mission, you can make a real difference in the lives of countless animal victims suffering terribly amid the Gaza-Israel War.

To donate to NFA, please go to Network for Animals.

Let the Animals Live is also accepting donations to help fund their efforts.

Claudia Bensimoun is a freelance writer in West Palm Beach who specializes in writing about dogs and horses.

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