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Woman serving as trailblazer in struggle for animal rights

peshawar  –  While protection of rights is an issue worldwide, a woman in the provincial capital has been protecting the rights of stray animals for the last several years and has set up what is considered to be the first such sanctuary in the area.

Zeba Masood, a 62-year-old Pakistan-American who had been born in Peshawar, runs an animal shelter called Lucky Animal Protection Shelter (LAPS).

Talking to The Nation, Zeba said that her organisation LAPS worked to sterilise stray dogs and take care of them in their centre located in Peshawar. However, she said the Peshawar location was becoming short of space due to the rising numbers of animals the centre was taking care of; that was why, they were now relocating the shelter to Sardaryab area of Charsadda district. 

“On the one hand, space in Peshawar is little, but on the other, local people also do not like the presence of our shelter in the area, so we have decided to move to Sardaryab area and we may relocate within a week,” she added. 

Discussing stray animals, Zeba said that vaccinating and sterilising such animals was necessary to keep society clean and protect people too, besides the health of the animals. 

“During six months, a dog or a cat can give birth to several offspring at a time. Now imagine how much it is necessary for such a programme that aims to sterilise the stray animals to stop their population from growing further, vaccinate them, and also to give them shelter and food,” Zeba said.

At the moment, Zeba’s centre has 150 dogs and a few donkeys and horses while she says they do not have space for cats at the moment.

She said that there was a huge number of stray and feral dogs in the city and suburban areas of Peshawar and municipal authorities often kill these dogs.

“Rabies is endemic in dogs and a number of people die of the bites of rabid dogs. Also, there are no rescue or emergency services available in the entire city and province for injured and abandoned dogs, which face cruelty and suffering at the hands of local people on the streets,” she said.

She said her organisation was trying to reduce the risk of rabies by vaccinating the stray and owned dogs, and also to give temporary shelter with care and relief to the injured and stray dogs before they were adopted by people.

She said that while she tried to manage expenses incurred on dog food and other items, some donors also assisted her shelter in the service. 

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