An animal welfare organisation is helping to bring pets back together their owners after a finding and treating animals affected by the blast, which has killed at least 135 people, injured more than 5,000 and left an estimated 300,000 homeless.Non-profit group Animals Lebanon’s executive director Jason Mier said the work to rescue injured animals and reunite people and pets was ‘making people happy’ at an ‘overwhelming’ time.
One video shows a dog waiting on a lead with an Animals Lebanon worker before ecstatically wagging its tail when two men – who appear to be the dog’s owners – walk through the door. It rushes up to one man who strokes and whispers to it as the dog jumps at him.Mr Mier said: ‘The goal really now is to reunite people with their lost pets, and that’s been working well, we’ve found owners of at least 20 dogs and cats so far.’
The blast damaged the organisation’s office, injuring several cats in the centre with broken glass from its windows.
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More footage shows three separate humans and dogs greeting each other, including one who is lifted in the air and cuddled by a delighted woman, as an onlooker shouts: ‘Wow, wow, wow, we did it, we did it, we did it, amazing.’
Explaining that this is the ‘most difficult situation’ the 12-year-old organisation has ever faced, Mr Mier continued: ‘We’ve been contacted a couple of hundred times so far since last night, we are the main animal welfare organisation in the country.
‘So far today we have had more than 40 people out, working in teams of two or three, and that has been ongoing since 8pm last night.
‘The goal is to keep going, I know we’re doing good stuff, I know we’re making people happy, but it’s overwhelming for everybody.’
It is unclear how many animals were injured or separated from their owners in the blast, but city residents have posted on social media in an effort to find their lost pets.
Mr Mier went on: ‘We’ve joined international conventions, we’ve drafted and passed national animal welfare law, we work throughout the country helping all types of animals.
‘With the compounding of all these things, the economic crisis, the government collapse… coronavirus, rising unemployment, and now this blast. This is the most difficult situation we’ve ever been in.
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‘We’re just trying to get through the day. There’s a lot of people ready to help.’
Donations to Animals Lebanon can be made at http://www.animalslebanon.org
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