MENANDS, NY (NEWS10) – For seven years, Dr David Chico, a veterinarian, volunteered for the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) helping animals affected by natural disasters. Over the course of four years, he helped ensure that 53 cats were brought to the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society (MHHS) so they could be adopted into loving homes.
With the help of Animals Lebanon, 14 cats brought to the United States with the help of Dr Chico and housed by MHHS, will soon be looking for their forever home in the Capital Region. The cats were rescued after a bomb attack in Beirut last December left many in need.
NEWS10 asked Dr Chico, who works for the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, about his work with Animals Lebanon and why animal rescue is important to him.
Q: When did you decide you were going to save cats from Lebanon and why did you decide to do it?
“My first trip to Lebanon was with IFAW to work in response to the Syrian refugee crisis. I got to know Animals Lebanon on this trip and have supported them ever since. I have returned on my own several times to help.
Q: What was the most rewarding part about rescuing these cats?
“The first is to give an animal a chance to be placed in a permanent home and not spend its life in a shelter. Secondly, these emergency transports really help Animals Lebanon by decreasing the number of cats in their care, which cuts down on expenses, especially when the economy is so bad there. For fans of Animals Lebanon, a cat transport like this excites everyone associated with the organization, both volunteers and employees, as they can see that their hard work has paid off and lives have been paid off. been saved.
Q: Were there any heartbreaking moments?
“Heartbreaking moments can’t help all of them. There are so many animals that need vet care that keeps them from traveling. One of the things I love most about Animals Lebanon is its ethical approach to these transports. They try to select the animals that will be most easily adoptable – they think a lot about the animals that will be sent to the United States.
Q: Do you have cats as pets and do you consider yourself a crazy cat?
“Unfortunately, I don’t have any cats of my own at the moment, but I have two rescue dogs, one of which is from Lebanon, Habib. Habib isn’t trustworthy with cats, so I don’t even try.
Q: How long do you plan to go to Lebanon to save cats?
“I will continue these trips once or twice a year to help support Animals Lebanon for as long as I can.”
Q: Have you thought about going to another country to save cats?
“As an IFAW volunteer, I would potentially go anywhere in the world help is needed to respond to a disaster. Disasters do not happen in a vacuum. While a disaster affects humans, it also affects animals, which is why the work of groups like Animals Lebanon and IFAW is so critical.
The MHHS said it is more than happy to do its part to ensure these cats are placed in good homes. Although the 14 who will soon be ready for adoption are mostly in good health, a long-haired black cat named Zoro had one eye removed on Friday, according to Marguerite Pearson of the MHHS. She said some cats come to MHHS only needing spaying, neutering or vaccinations, while others like Zoro have more serious needs, including an amputation.
“There is no effective government in place and those with the resources are leaving. Those who cannot leave abandon their animals because they cannot afford to feed them, ”said Pearson. “Incredibly, this organization is saving animals with the help of IFAW and volunteers like Dr. Chico who partner with organizations like the MHHS in the United States. They even managed to pass an animal abuse law, although there are no laws against child or spousal abuse. “