Among the sand dunes south of Gaza City, on an area spanning two dunams (0.5 acres), live more than 200 stray dogs which have been taken off the streets of Gaza.
Salala, which was established in 2006, is the only association concerned with animal welfare in the Gaza Strip. It cares for more than 200 dogs which have been classed as wild dogs and a danger to residents across Gaza. The organisation then rescues them, removes them from the streets and places them in its sanctuary.
Saaed Al-Aer, one of the supervisors of the dog sanctuary, says that the project is the first of its kind in Gaza and is dedicated to caring for dogs and providing them with the necessary care.
The stray dogs centre has kennels and cages, catchpoles, running water and food, which is provided by Salala and the Gaza Municipality which collects offcuts from local slaughterhouses.
The Ministry of Agriculture also provides medicine and some vaccinations necessary to take care of the canines. Half of the dogs at the sanctuary have medical ailments or were harmed after attacking locals.
The reserve is supervised by two employees from the Salala association who work on a voluntary basis, in addition to a volunteer of four people who rescue the stray dogs.
New dogs, which are considered dangerous, are kept in isolation until staff believe they no longer pose a danger to the other canines, once it’s safe to do so, they are allowed to mix with the other pups. Once they have been fully rehabilitated, many are used by landowners and farmers to guard their properties.