Walking down a Cairo street with an adopted stray dog can elicit a range of reactions, from surprise to rebuke. Their skittish behavior and curled-up tails make them easily distinguishable from the more preferred purebred pets, says Mada Masr.
If these animals, commonly known as baladi dogs, are not rescued, they are at risk of forced euthanasia through government or private initiatives, which are often encouraged by complaints from the public.
Many countries have yet to utilize street animals in a productive way, and in Egypt, the treatment of animals — particularly dogs — requires a paradigm shift. In addition to a cultural and social stigma against them, these animals are often considered to be no more than pests, and are typically treated as such.
"Animal welfare is not part of our culture in Egypt," says Aya Shehata, a volunteer with TNR Maadi (trap, neuter and release). "People think of animals as some kind of object instead of something that has a soul, like us."
But for the first time in Egypt’s history, an article on animal welfare was approved in the January 2014 constitutional referendum. And while the legislation will not come into effect until a new parliament is sworn in, Article 45 does stipulate the "humane treatment of animals."
Read more from Mada Masr here.
A dog caught by TNR Maadi in June – Photo: TNR Maadi via Facebook