Katzenjammer – Part 2 (KH)

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katharinahauptmann02_dlIn my column last week I introduced Iceland's only cat shelter Kattholt.

There is also another great organization that helps pets in need: Dýrahjálp Íslands (“Animal Aid Iceland”).

Sandra Lyngdorf, founding member of Dýrahjálp, kindly provided me with extensive information about their cause.

Dýrahjálp was founded in April 2008 by Sandra, Anne Franziska Mueller and Þorvarður Atli Þórsson.

On their website, they advertise pets in need of new homes and assist owners in finding suitable new homes for their animals. There, one can find a number of dogs, cats and sometimes birds, guinea pigs, rabbits, hamsters and other pets.

As of now, there are 26 dogs, 41 cats, four rabbits and three guinea pigs listed on Dýrahjálp’s website.

If a pet cannot stay with its owner for whatever reason, Dýrahjálp provides a foster home where the animal can stay temporarily.

The association doesn't have a shelter, so they have to rely on individuals and families to welcome a foster pet into their homes and take care of it until a new owner is found.

If pet owners hand their pets over to Dýrahjálp, all they have to do is to pay a fee, which is lower than the cost of euthanasia. This fee is used for veterinary care.

That seems like a more than fair deal.

Needless to say, all foster pets are checked by a veterinarian, vaccinated, ID chipped and neutered/spayed before going to a new home.

In addition to the website, the organization also holds a monthly adoption day held at Dýraríkið, a store for pet supplies, on the first Saturday of every month.

There, people can come and meet the animals that are looking for a new home.

Dýrahjálp is run entirely by volunteers and does not receive any funding or cooperation from the government or local authorities.

A dreadful and shameful circumstance, in my opinion.

Sandra puts it way more diplomatically than me: regarding the support and cooperation of local authorities, the people of Dýrahjálp “hope that this will evolve in the future.”

So they entirely depend upon voluntary contributions from individuals and the fee owners have to pay to surrender a pet to the organization.

And support is much needed; at the moment it is impossible for the association to meet the demand for foster homes.

Too many people want to surrender their pets and there are far too few foster homes available, especially for cats.

“The Icelandic cat population is regrettably very overpopulated, something which could have been prevented by neutering/spaying,” Sandra said.

I'm so glad and grateful for associations like Dýrahjálp. They are doing a wonderful job and should be supported by local authorities and the public. Because all of us who are living in Iceland benefit from their work.

Personally, if I was looking for a pet, I would never go to a breeder but adopt a homeless animal instead.

There are so, so many wonderful, adorable animals that are in need of a loving and caring home.

Dýrahjálp is always in need of volunteers, people who are interested in donating some of their time or fostering an animal.

If you’re interested, you can sign up on the organization's website or simply contribute with some money: Íslandsbanki, account number 0513-26-4311, kennitala (social security number): 620508-1010. 

Dýrahjálp guarantees that all contributions are used for the care of animals and/or for saving up for an animal shelter.

By the way, I was delighted to hear from Sandra that there is, in fact, a new animal welfare bill in progress in Iceland and that Dýrahjálp sent their comments on the draft to the responsible committee last fall.

I keep my fingers crossed.

Katharina Hauptmann – katha.hauptmann@gmail.com

Views expressed here are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Iceland Review.