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1 February 2012

Yedikule Animal Shelter at the Municipality of Fatih in Istanbul


At the time of writing this post, blogger informs me that there are people from 150 countries around the world reading this blog.  It is my aim to cultivate, inform and enlighten you, the international virtual audience, through my blog posts and at the same time raise awareness on a global scale for these associations, charities and organisations. 

Here is a photograph of Meral Olcay with three adorable dogs from the Yedikule Animal Shelter at the Municipality of Fatih in Istanbul.  Photograph courtesy of the Yedikule Animal Shelter website.

    Meral Olcay, an architect by profession is the designer, founder and manager of the Yedikule Animal Shelter which is located in the Municipality of Fatih in Istanbul, Turkey.   The animal shelter is a purpose built building which was architect designed by Meral where she also works as a volunteer and is responsible for the day-to-day running of the shelter alongside other members of staff and a core team of dedicated volunteers who look after the animals.   

Here is Meral Olcay's architect designed Animal Shelter in YedikuleIt is 8000sqm and includes a 500sqm landscaped outdoor walking and exercise area for the animals.  Photograph courtesy of the Yedikule Animal Shelter website.


It all began one morning, when Meral took a different route to work and saw an old man feeding a large group of stray dogs.  She stopped her car and had a conversation with him and found out that he was feeding dogs there on a regular basis on table scraps and stale bread.  She told the man that she would bring some food as well and they could feed the dogs together.  Soon, they had a tremendous  number of stray dogs to feed.  So, she went to the Municipality of Fatih and explained to them that she was an architect and that she would be willing to design a purpose built animal shelter for these stray animals if the municipality could designate a terrain with features such as access to water, electricity and sanitation.  The municipality provided a designated terrain and approved the project and so construction of the shelter began and was completed within a year.  It was inaugurated in August 2001 by the then governor of Istanbul, Mr Erol Çakır. 


A view from the Yedikule Animal Shelter at the Municipality of Fatih in Istanbul.  Photograph courtesy of the Yedikule Animal Shelter website.

The animal shelter currently houses 3000 stray dogs and 85 disabled cats all in dire need of care and attention.  The municipality of Fatih provides logistical support such as the payment of electricity, water, telephone bills and the expenditure related to the running of a vehicle to pick-up injured animals and take them to the veterinary clinic.  The municipality also pays the wages of eleven of the employees and the wages of the remaining eleven employees are met by a core team of dedicated volunteers. 


A view from the Yedikule Animal Shelter at the Municipality of Fatih in Istanbul. Photograph courtesy of the Yedikule Animal Shelter website.

The Yedikule Animal Shelter relies on donations from the public for the purchase of the following items; food, pharmaceutials, prescription medication, cleaning equipment and products and funds to cover the cost of repairs and maintenance to the shelter building.  A proportion of the food requirements for the animals at the shelter are met by collecting food waste from nearby restaurants.  However, as the dietary requirements for nursing mothers, puppies, kittens and small dogs are different, the shelter tries to encourage the general public to donate dried and tinned cat and dog food and also subsidises a portion of this type of expenditure itself from monetary donations it receives. 

One of the dogs from the Yedikule Animal Shelter at the Municipality of Fatih in Istanbul. Photograph courtesy of the Yedikule Animal Shelter website.

 Then, there are costs associated with providing veterinary care for animals who have been involved in traffic accidents, sick animals, animals who have been mistreated and tortured.  These costs also have to come out of the limited monetary donations made by the public.  Meral Olcay says that they rely heavily on donations from the general public but as it is difficult to predict the amount of money which they receive from one month to the next, it is difficult to plan ahead.  Ideally, Meral would like animal lovers to make regular donations according to their personal budget.  She welcomes donations of any amount however small, so that her and her core team of dedicated volunteers can continue to provide and care for these stray animals. 

For more information about the Yedikule Animal Shelter please visit their website.

Those people who wish to make a donation to the animal shelter may do so by clicking on this link http://www.yhdd.org.tr/bagis-yapin/ and follow the different options.  (Kredi Karti ile Bagis means to donate with a credit card, Mail Order ile Bagis means to donate by completing a mail order form and Banka Havale/Eft ile Bagis means to make a donation via a bank transfer).


My thanks to Meral Olcay and to her core team of dedicated volunteers at the Yedikule Animal Shelter.  Photographs taken from their website have been reproduced here with their kind permission.
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