Our story began as a small group of animal lovers that regularly fed stray cats & dogs.
What is Kurtaran Ev's mission?
Kurtaran Ev (The Rescue House Organisation) is a non-profit rescue and rehoming organization operating in Istanbul, Turkey. Our mission is to rescue animals in need from the street, urban areas and shelters, rehabilitate them and find them forever homes.
When was the association established and what is the history of the organization (how did you all find each other and coordinate?)
Our story began as a small group of animal lovers that regularly fed stray cats and dogs. For a number of years, we travelled together to the outskirts of Istanbul to feed and care for any animal we came across and to get them adopted.
Eventually, we were unable to tackle the overwhelming number of animals being abandoned and decided to take a more proactive and holistic approach to animal welfare. The first step was to find a new home for our cause. After 5 months of searching, we found a dilapidated house not too far from the centre of Istanbul. There were no windows, no flooring, no kitchen nor any working facilities. After signing the lease, we got to work with our friends and volunteers, and after 2 months of hard work, we had a functioning headquarters. What we started as a small refuge for animals with a group of friends, soon became a true project that is supported by many volunteers and partners.
In the meantime, we rented our second branch 5-minutes away from our HQ until August of 2019, we could only harbour 70 dogs in these two branches. As we inevitably started getting more dogs, we decided to rent farmland in Hadimköy, which is located in the outskirts of Istanbul. We currently have two locations that provide refuge to more than 400 dogs, which we continue to rehabilitate and rehome.
Unfortunately, we do not receive any support from the government and rely solely on donations from our social media followers. At the moment all our operations are carried out by 2 volunteer managers, 2 volunteer social media members and 6 paid staff who look after the animals. Our aim is not to grow as a 'shelter' but to maintain our numbers by spreading awareness of fostering and adoptions. We are still trying to break down cultural barriers that are present in Turkey. In order to achieve this successfully, we are in great need of assistance from international organisations that have experience in animal welfare.
Our locations and what we do in each facility
Our branch in Küçükçekmece houses our disabled and old dogs. Unfortunately, these are the dogs that have the lowest chance of being adopted. Adopting a disabled or old dog is an incredibly important and fulfilling thing.
Our farm in Hadımköy houses all our other dogs and this is where we do all our adoptions. All our puppies, young dogs and big dogs are here. They all roam free within the facility, except for the traumatized dogs that are waiting to be rehabilitated.
We also rehome dogs abroad. And we have a very strong system in place to send dogs abroad. We rehome mostly to Germany and the UK.
Our foster programme is a fantastic way of increasing an animal’s chances of being adopted. Also, if you’re not sure if you’re ready for the commitment of adopting and just want to help out, it is incredibly rewarding. I fostered 2 dogs, and they were adopted by 2 lovely families.
How we operate
As we run solely on donations, we need all the help we can get! The dogs that end up coming to us are usually in very bad condition, which are rescued either from urban areas or unfortunately shelters. We usually have around 20 animals at the Kumburgaz Veterinary Clinic. We are very careful about viral infections, so all vaccinations are tracked and completed.
We have around 400 dogs, so we would greatly appreciate dog food donations. You can go on to our Instagram page to send us food directly. If there are blankets, furniture, etc. that you would like to donate that would also really help us. We work with local charities, so we help families that are in need.
Our rescue numbers
We have been an official organization for 2 years. But everyone involved has been rescuing animals for decades. In our first year, we saved more than 600 dogs, spayed more than 1000 dogs and 500 cats.
We rescue every kind of animal that needs help. Due to the spread of viral illnesses in cats, we don’t shelter them anymore. The health risk of keeping cats together is unfortunately too dangerous for them. Instead, we have a network of people who save and treat cats in their own homes. And if anyone would like to adopt a cat we use this network. I actually adopted 2 cats this way!
Other activities we do in the community
We work with local charities. We help them find resources, organise events for them, create social media campaigns to raise awareness.
As an organisation we feed the animals in urban areas 4 times a week. Some of our individual members feed them every day. This can be a dangerous task, as urban areas can be high-risk areas for ‘animal lovers’, especially women. Unfortunately, we have had numerous incidents where our numbers have been attacked.
How you can help
Some of the things that would help us are:
Visit us! Our dogs love to spend time with visitors.
Send us dog food through our Instagram page.
Adopt don’t shop! You would be surprised at how many pure breed dogs we have. Please inquire with us before you pay for an animal.
Foster an animal to dramatically increase its chances of being adopted.
If you are feeding a street animal, make sure that it is spayed, if not, to get it spayed.
Talk about the importance of adopting and spaying to people you know.
Help us with social media campaigning.
Send us your unwanted furniture.
Give us ideas and feedback!
Is there anything else you would like to share?
Please don’t forget to put a bowl of water and food out for street animals, especially during the pandemic.