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The kingdom’s oldest animal welfare centre is continuing its desperate push to raise funds to save the shelter from shutting down, which looks increasingly likely, and is pleading with people to continue digging deep and showing support.
Despite schools staging on-campus campaigns including book sales and bake sales, as well as drop-off points for cat and dog food, the Bahrain Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BSPCA) in Askar remains in a precarious state.
“The status at the moment is that we have to shut down in a couple of weeks if we are unable to get any financial aid,” said BSPCA chairman Mahmood Faraj. “How much has been raised since we first appealed to the community? It’s still not even 10 per cent of what we need.”
The BSPCA, which was established in 1979 by a small group of committed and passionate animal lovers and then officially registered by the Social Development Ministry as a humane, charitable, non-profit organisation dedicated to the welfare of animals, is being charged a commercial rate for utility bills which amounts to up to BD1,000 per month during the summer.
“If any company or persons can take care of the electricity, we would be grateful,” said Mahmood. “Others can also, perhaps, bring food for the animals. If anyone can help the organisation through any which means, we welcome it.”
The centre had opened in 2012 on donated land including play areas for the animals, a duck pond and an aviary. It also provides services such as governmental consultation, spay-and-neuter programmes, educational facilities for children as well as providing food, shelter, medical care and adoption services to hundreds of animals in need. There is also a purpose-built clinic, administration offices and a classroom for school visits.
According to Mahmood, plans for the adoption of 80 dogs and 80 cats under the care of BSPCA are currently being arranged if closure is carried out with all the animals spayed or neutered, fully vaccinated and assessed for their mental and physical health.
“Most of the animals will be up for adoption for free and we are hoping to find them all good homes,” he added. “Our priority is for the animals that have been with us for more than two years.”
Over the years, the centre has mostly relied on sales from a thrift shop selling second-hand clothing and wares, sponsored dog walks, quiz nights and pet food baskets filled outside supermarkets.
However, it’s now crunch-time for the facility and BSPCA fundraiser Rachel Gibson reminds people to rally for the cause by participating in a series of activities throughout June.
“One real issue we have is managing the cost of the electricity bill each month, so if anyone could possibly donate some solar panels for our shelter that could really help,” said Rachel. “We also need a lot more donations for the Thrift Shop as the sales from there go towards funding our shelter. We also always need cat and dog food.
“We need continued support to keep the shelter going because we get absolutely no government funding whatsoever. We have been going for 40 years and this is the first time we have suffered severe funding problems and we really need continued support and an urgent appeal right now to keep our doors open.”
The BSPCA has teamed up with Handmade in Bahrain to host a Handmade Craft Bazaar featuring more than 25 vendors at Candles in the Dilmun Club on June 1 from 5pm to 10pm. It’s free entry to the Bazaar.
On June 20, 96.5FM Radio Bahrain RJ Shannon Crockett will host a quiz and raffle at the same venue as the Bazaar for the BSPCA and there is a Save the BSPCA Black Tie Dinner on June 23 at The Address Hotel with details to follow. Donations to the dinner’s auction and raffle would be gratefully received.
If anyone would like to arrange a fundraiser, please contact Rachel on 66608901.
Donations can also be made in cash or card at the Animal Welfare Centre or through banks using IBAN BH04NBOB
Call 17591231 for details or follow @bspca on Instagram.