BEIRUT: “I chose adoption and I can’t be any happier,” said Layan Zein, a 21-year-old cat adopter.
Three months ago, Zein decided to bring a cat home.
Her decision to adopt rather than buy a cat refers to her belief that a cat, or any other pet, are not “objects” to be bought the same way a person would not buy a baby.
The International Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals considers that pets are usually put up for adoption due to changes in the family they used to belong to and not due to their behavior.
The research suggests that the act of adoption not only means providing a loving home for one pet, but also giving another pet a chance to join the shelter and allowing the shelter to continue its work.
The benefits of adopting a pet go beyond that and reach an economic level. Choosing to adopt rather than buy a pet means spending less money.
The person who is willing to adopt pays only the expenses the shelter spends on vaccines, food, and treatments rather than paying those and the price of a pet.
Beirut for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (BETA) is one of the Lebanese registered non-governmental organizations that put up pets for adoption.
BETA’s activities started in 2004 and in 2006, it established itself as an organization. Since then, BETA has worked on providing rehabilitation and a safe place for animals until they find a home that can take care of them.
Through its work, BETA also aims at educating people to prevent animal overpopulation and cruelty in hope of building a society that treats animals with compassion.
“We visit schools, academic institutions, summer camps, and others to talk about animals and the importance of treating them well,” Sévine Fakhoury, board member at BETA, told Annahar, “we also have groups of students or scouts who visit the shelter, learn more about dogs, and help in walking them, brushing them, and cleaning around the shelter,” she added.
The organization was one of the first to start rescuing dogs, cats, and wildlife species in the country. The team even works in dangerous environments and in life threatening situations to save as many animals as possible.
“In 2017, we have rescued 450 cats, dogs, and wildlife animals such as two foxes, different types of migrating birds, Lebanese wildlife birds, a horse and others,” Fakhoury said.
To ensure these rescue operations, the organization depends on donations, adoptions, and assistance.
“In 2017, 150 dogs and cats found loving homes, locally and internationally,” said Fakhoury, emphasizing that “the more people adopt, the more we can help and rescue.”
BETA annually puts up around 500 dogs and 150 cats that are vaccinated, de-wormed, and sprayed/neutered for people to adopt.
The adoption process involves seven steps. First, one must fill a form, online or in the shelter, that includes very basic questions about the person. After submitting the form, “a member from BETA calls them to set up for an interview to learn more about the character and lifestyle of the person or family to try to set the best pet match,” Fakhoury explained.
In case the organization feels that the applicant is not ready to adopt, a member contacts them to explain the reasons why their application got rejected, according to Fakhoury.
After the list of narrowed down options has been made, the adopter is invited to the organization to choose the pet they like most from that list. The applicant is afterward required to visit the center again and spend time with the chosen pet before a volunteer from BETA drops the pet at its forever home.
Upon receiving the pet, one must sign an adoption agreement and pay the adoption fees that cover the expenses that include spraying/neutering, de-worming, all required vaccinations, and the fees of the general check-ups at the veterinarian.
The adoption fee for a dog is 150,000 L.L. and 75,000 L.L. for a cat.
After the adoption process is complete, BETA remains available for any help or questions one might have about their pet and its behavior.
“We help adopters through the introductory period and offer help all along until both the adopter and the pet are happy,” Fakhoury told Annahar.
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