In search of shelter

Photos and text by Farida Azizi

My story is about street dogs and this is a very important issue in today’s society of our country, Afghanistan. Through my photography, I want say to my people to treat animals, especially dogs, with kindness.
Due to a lack of healthy food and shelter, they suffer from various diseases and these diseases can be transmitted to humans as well, which is a big problem today. Dozens of people go to the hospital every day because of dog bites, all of them are bitten by street dogs.
They are born on the streets and grow up on the streets without any shelter. Dogs are very kind and loyal. If we treat them with kindness, they will return it.
Dogs are harassed daily in the streets by people because our people do not yet have much understanding of compassion and proper treatment of animals. We must learn that animals also have the right to live in this society unharmed.
They have the right to have a shelter, food and water. They are constantly looking for shelter in the streets. In the cold season, they suffer a lot because they have no shelter. They feed on garbage. Dogs are often beaten by children or injured by cars on the roads. In some cases, they are sexually assaulted by drug addicts.
If one harasses a human being or someone is hungry or thirsty, they can express it and can say “I am hungry, I am in pain, I want water”, but animals cannot speak and they cannot say for themselves what they need. We must understand and protect them, as well as treat them with kindness so they can live a peaceful life.
The municipality does not even collect the numbers of how many dogs were culled in the last several years, and there are thousands of dogs on the streets.
Over the last few years, it has been said that about 4000 dogs are culled every year because they carry various diseases and these diseases may be transmitted to humans, that’s why the municipality has decided to take action but culling all of the dogs, especially the ones that have diseases.
These statistics refer to just one city and Afghanistan has 34 cities. I couldn’t find the exact statistics of street dogs but every street I go I see dozens of dogs without any shelter in this cold weather. There are individuals in our society who show some kindness to the street dogs, feeding them and giving them water. Maybe if these kind people organised a shelter for the animals, our streets would be safer, and the dogs would be able to enjoy a better life while not being a problem for our society. Volunteers could bring food, and take turns looking aGer the animals. There are many such examples around the world.