The Work

Lebanese ‘Expat Pet Programme’ takes wing


Campaign supported by JWT highlights how due to low adoption rates in the country, BETA is having to send Lebanese dogs abroad.

‘Lebanese Expat Pet Programme’, an initiative by Beirut for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (BETA), seeks families abroad to adopt rescued animals.

The campaign seeks to raise awareness about the fact that as a result of low adoption rates in Lebanon, the organisation has had to resort to sending Lebanese dogs abroad for adoption. JWT Beirut is the agency behind it.

“Our shelters are full. Many of the dogs we have rescued have permanent injuries due to abuse and many are fully-grown dogs not puppies. These two factors make them less likely to be adopted in Lebanon. In addition, we have a no kill policy. It is not an option to euthanise our animals if we cannot find them homes. As a result, we have had to look abroad for adoptive families due to very low adoption rates in Lebanon,” said Helena Husseini, vice president, BETA.

Campaign website xpatpets.com allows users to browse through profiles of the dogs BETA has rescued. Visitors can then choose to keep the dog in Lebanon or give it an opportunity abroad. For those who want to help but cannot house a dog, the website also enables viewers to donate to BETA’s programmes.

“We hope this campaign will encourage Lebanese people to adopt locally by raising awareness, or if not, that we will find good families abroad,” said Husseini.

The campaign has captured the attention of local media. A Lebanese comedian and show host Adel Karam touched on the issue, interweaving it with a political satire in the video below:

It features footage of a political figure addressing a live audience, stating that he cannot live in Lebanon and refuses all the processes being implemented. The comedian, on his show, interjects that if the political figure feels that way, maybe they should all leave together. He goes on to add: “Not only do you hate having a life in Lebanon, even our dogs are emigrating.” Pictures of the dogs leaving the airport follow.

1 Comment

  • “Dogs love their friends and bite their enemies, quite unlike people, who are incapable of pure love and always have to mix love and hate…” – Sigmund Freud. It is commonly said that a dog is a man’s best friend, this is usually related to the idea of the unmatched feeling of receiving unconditional love and affection from a dog.
    It is reported that the number of abandoned dogs in Lebanon is increasing daily, and it has reached a level where it can no longer be ignored. The rise in numbers is a result of people purchasing pets and not providing them with attention and care they require. The pets are being neglected and abandoned and in worse cases abused. Animal abuse is deemed immoral and unethical, however when we take in account the regulations assigned by the Lebanese Ministry of justice, it is not an illegal practice in the court of law.
    There is a limited number of organisation participating in sheltering abandoned, emotionally and physically scared animals. BETA stands out as one of the very few organizations.
    With the number of stray and abandoned cats and dogs increasing, pressure is mounting on such organisations to find space availability to shelter the increasing number. The alternative initiative these organisations have implemented is raising awareness about the consequences of their actions and the serious level of commitment required when adopting a pet. Organisations such as BETA are non-profitable NGOs (Non Governmental Organisations) and therefore rely heavily on public donations thus they’re advertising emphasis to raise donations for the cause.
    With availability decreasing some call for euthanasia as as the prompt solution. However, NGOs such as BETA, strongly oppose such practices. As a result of such opposition “The Lebanese Expat Pet Program” was established to ensure adequate housing for every animal domestically or internationally.
    In attempt to further spread awareness and increase donations BETA hold events, such as “The BETA Annual Dog Show” and their upcoming event ” Hot Doggies” which is planned to take place on the 7th of March 2015.
    The idea of adopting a dog or a cat rather than buying one should be promoted more widely, because it is not only the humane thing to do but by doing so, animal lives are saved. This consequently would translate a new opportunity for the animals providing them a second chance at life and providing them with the love and care that they deserve. Most animals at the shelter have suffered cruelty and abuse by their neglecting owners, deteriorating the chance of their survival.
    I have been affected by such incidents which drove me to a dog and provided him with a new home. When my brother first laid eyes on him, he was merely an abandoned husky which has suffered injuries from being hit by a car. Initially, the dog was intimidated by human interaction, which are signs of emotional scaring due to possible abuse from previous owners. But after a few months of love and care, he regained his joy and has grown into a rather playful dog and has become a family member amongst us and is happy in our cosy home in Dubai.
    More organizations such as BETA are needed in Lebanon, supported by governmental financial aid, to resume their mission in find lifelong homes for all the dogs and cats in their care. Moreover enhancing spread awareness about responsible pet ownership and portray the importance of the work that such organisations perform, is equally as important; and in turn, educate people on the importance of spaying and neutering.

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