Dubai’s longest-serving dog shelter at risk of closure after financial woes

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K9 Friends, one of Dubai’s longest serving dog shelters for stray animals, has announced it may be forced to close its doors after dwindling sponsorship from the public.

For more than 30 years, the center – which has the capacity for 130 stray dogs – has been run solely by volunteers who carry out maintenance, care for the animals and focus on rehoming the dogs to the right households.

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It is also run purely on sponsorship from members of the public.

Over the past three decades, the center has helped re-home thousands of dogs in need.

However dwindling funds have forced the shelter to close permanently, despite it being one of the few rescue homes in the emirate who provide shelter for the stray and abandoned animals across the UAE.

In a statement, K9 Friends – established in 1989 – said it is constantly filled with dogs who need a home, but a lack of sponsortships may mean it can no longer operate.

“Unfortunately, the last few years has been hard on everyone, and it is with a heavy heart that K9 Friends is now in financial trouble,” the statement read. “With no official help we can no longer sustain the financial burden of DEWA, maintenance, insurance, staff costs and vet bills that are all associated with running a rehoming center.”

K9 Friends running costs are roughly $22,000 a monthly. In May, they received just over $5,000 in sponsorship– only about a quarter of what they need to keep afloat, the rescue organization said.

“K9 Friends has been a local institution for well over 30 years; it started as a small group of volunteers helping the stay and abandoned dogs of the UAE. With the support of an amazing team of volunteers and sponsorship they have helped literally rehome thousands of dogs.”

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

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

“If K9 Friends do not receive immediate help then they will be forced to close the doors within the next few months.”

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

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