Cover Story

Animal appeal

Novemver 11 -17, 2020

Gulf Weekly Naman Arora
By Naman Arora

Gulf Weekly Animal appeal

Nearly 350 dogs and 250 cats have been given until the end of the month to find a new home as volunteers hope to raise enough funds to finish a purpose-built animal shelter by then.

The Bahrain Animal Rescue Centre (BARC), which is currently based in Saar, needs to raise the final BD4,750 in order to finish its new BD70,000 shelter, located in Hamala and dedicated to the memory of Tony ‘The Dogfather’ Waters who devoted his life to saving strays.

Its current facility was given a 30-day notice last week after receiving an all-time high number of noise complaints.
“Our current location is becoming increasingly residential and I can empathise with the noise complaints, which have led to this ultimatum,” said Sandi Thom, BARC’s chairperson and voluntary manager, who took over the reins after Tony died in 2018.

“I had made a promise to Tony, just before he passed, that I would help build a permanent shelter for BARC and we are so close to fulfilling that undertaking.
“Since we put out this plea, we have been able to raise more than BD1,000, which will cover the first of four instalments and pay for one of four weeks’ worth of work remaining on the shelter.”

The Covid-19 pandemic has put an added stress on the organisation’s finances. With expats being forced to leave the country due to the economic fallout, they often abandon their pets at BARC’s door.
On top of that, the centre has put its calendar of fundraising events on hold, in line with the Health Ministry’s guidelines regarding community gatherings.
Sandi estimates that this has cost BARC almost BD20,000 in charitable proceeds and along with BARC’s board of directors, she has been funding the construction of the new centre.

As well as providing respite for abandoned animals, the Hamala centre will also provide a slew of services for current and aspiring pet owners.
“The 2,000sqm facility will have a dog park that can be used by all,” explained Sandi, an accomplished Scottish singer-songwriter, widely known for her 2006 hit single I Wish I Was a Punk Rocker.

“We plan to conduct public events and build an agility course so that pet owners can have a safe and exciting environment for their furry friends to explore.
“There will be separate kennels for our canine companions and a cattery for our feline friends, as well as a small hydrotherapy pool.
“There will also be health and educational programmes run, to help pet owners learn more about taking care of their animals, as well as enable children to learn more about and interact with animals in a safe environment.
“We are also hoping to set up a souvenir shop that will sell BARC-themed merchandise. All proceeds will go to support BARC’s efforts.”
Construction is almost complete, and the first batch of 80 dogs will be moved to seven kennel rooms within the coming week.
Sandi is urging everyone to contribute as much as they can to the new facility, since it will not only give our furry friends a more comfortable shelter, it will also lower expenses in the long-term, enabling a more sustainable future for the centre.

For more details, follow @bahrainanimalrescuecentre on Instagram or visit

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