“Unlike many places in the US, where dogs are put to sleep after a short time of being in a shelter, our shelter houses and takes care of dogs for years.”
By Tsivya Fox-Dobuler
Tzaar Baalei Chaim (Jerusalem Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals-JSPCA) works tirelessly to place Israel’s stray dogs into loving homes in Israel and around the world. Though the organization has been around for about 80 years, its international efforts have been taking place for less than a year, and with great success.
“In the past 10 months, we have found homes for 11 dogs internationally and have another one ready for adoption. We only need to find an escort to take the dog from Israel to the US,” Chaya Beili, JSPCA Board member and adoption and intake coordinator, told United with Israel (UWI). “Israel has a large number of stray dogs due to people who do not spay their animals. Their dogs run wild, get pregnant and give birth in fields. Then, we face a wild dog challenge.”
Beili explained that Israelis generally do not want large dogs, as apartments are often small. Additionally, “brindle brown and black dogs or those with cut ears tend to be undesirable,” she said. “People often choose their dogs by color.”
The dedicated volunteer said that dogs can stay at her shelter for many years. “Unlike many places in the US, where dogs are put to sleep after a short time of being in a shelter, our shelter houses and takes care of dogs for years.”
Though JSPCA has been around for decades, encouraging international adoption of dogs less desirable to Israelis began as an unexpected project.
“One day, an American veterinarian named Shira Feinstein Oppenheim was visiting Israel from Colorado and called me,” Beili said. “She had found a stray dog in Ashkelon and wanted someone to take it in. I explained that the dog’s chances of being adopted in Israel were not great due to its size. She took the dog home herself. She then decided to help more stray dogs in Israel get adopted. We chose to focus on our toughest cases.”
Through Shira’s tireless efforts advertising the dogs in the US, she connected with Fly With Me, a rescue organization in Nova Scotia, Canada, and convinced them to add an international section for rescuing dogs from outside the US. Due to cold weather and large open spaces, Canada does not have an overpopulation of pets. Therefore, people there who want to adopt a dog have limited options, Beili said.
Once JSPCA finds a suitable family for a dog, it streamlines the adoption process as much as possible. “Every dog is fully vaccinated and sterilized,” Beili told UWI. “We raise money for the airfare, about $200 a dog, and the required dog carrier to travel, about $150.”
They are always seeking people traveling from Israel to the US who are willing to meet the volunteer handler on the other side. “A volunteer meets a traveler on the Israeli side and handles all the bureaucracy,” Beili continued. “Then, the traveler retrieves the dog on the other side and meets with a volunteer waiting for its arrival.”
Jen Batsheva Goldman, an American-Israel, just delivered a dog to a handler in America. “I found this so meaningful to do,” Goldman told UWI. “It’s providing these dogs with a real home, a home out of a cage in a shelter. It was made so easy by JSPCA. I’d do it again in a minute.”
A recent Facebook post demonstrates both the excitement when a dog is successfully adopted as well as the coordination and effort it takes from various organizations and volunteers.
WOW! Our hearts are so full this morning as Mantra and Chicco have arrived safely in the USA and are settling in for a few weeks before heading to their forever homes in Canada! This mission would not be possible without the collaboration of several different rescues. I am so happy we all are able to work together!
Thank you to Second Chance Rescue NYC Dogs, JSPCA – Jerusalem Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Fly With Me Animal Rescue, Next Chance Rescue, and Don’t Panic Nepali Dogs for all of your help in getting these dogs to the USA and to their temporary and forever homes!!!
“Tzaar Baalei Chaim” is a biblical decree that forbids one to hurt animals. Rather, a person must show compassion for all living creatures. Clearly, Beili and her expanding team of volunteers are doing just that.