by Brenda Singleton
The dog park was an idea I formulated after considering various issues we were dealing with on a day to day basis.
Firstly we had problems with animals living on the street in residential areas that were too young and lively to be around the village square and around restaurants. We had no place to move these dogs to.
Secondly if a street dog was injured or unwell, we could not find fosterers to take these dogs off the street for a while. To be honest I never liked the idea of fostering anyway. The animal must be thinking it has a home of its own but it doesn’t really. It must be very disorientating for the animal to suddenly find that it is back out on the street.
Thirdly we needed to hold onto dogs until they were neutered just in case they moved on – it was also very useful to have somewhere safe for them to recover from anesthesia.
To me it seemed sensible to try and find a place just outside the village. Under law 5199 healthy street dogs should be free to roam. With this very much in mind I decided that we should have a holding area for sick / injured dogs/ dogs that needed neutering and for dogs just arriving at the park. The well dogs could be held until they got used to the park and the volunteer feeders/ carers.
Of course I needed help and this came in the form of Pinar who has always been involved in street animal welfare. The Orman (forestry department) was contacted and eventually we got permission to use a huge area of forest.
We started off with two large enclosures and two small ones, with kennels for each dog. We now have a third enclosure and two dog houses in which to put the kennels. Some of the accommodation has been built with private donations.
The Dogs now have a safe place to stay if they need it. Our volunteers go every day to feed, medicate if necessary and check on the health of these animals. They receive vaccinations and anti parasite treatment. They even have a vet who comes to visit and check on them for free every fortnight.
The park has just celebrated its one year anniversary and we have learnt from our experiences over the last year. A lot of free roaming dogs come and go but there is a core group who are always there. If they find another food source that is fine but they know where base camp is if they ever need it.
I am pleased that this model is now being replicated in other parts of Fethiye.
It is a very happy place to visit and we have never had any trouble at all enlisting volunteers.