Dozens of dogs rescued after mudslide hits Jerusalem shelter

Dozens of dogs rescued after mudslide hits Jerusalem shelter

City Hall was apparently warned a year ago of flooding danger due to construction above shelter

Illustrative photo of a sad, wet dog. (photo credit: CC BY, Flickr)
Illustrative photo of a sad, wet dog. (photo credit: CC BY, Flickr)

Over 150 animals were endangered Monday and 50 required rescue adoption when torrential rains and mud slides flooded the Jerusalem Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ Atarot kennel.

The flooding of the kennel resulted in 10-15 centimeters of water in the shelter’s closed kennels, requiring four volunteers at first, later assisted by three more, to evacuate 30 to 40 dogs, society secretary Sharon Granot said. Fifty dogs in all were temporarily adopted by volunteers and taken from the shelter. All of the cats at the refuge were fine and unaffected by the flood.

The kennel was flooded by water and mud that flowed down into the shelter from a construction site located on a hill above the kennels, Granot told The Times of Israel. Granot said that City Hall was warned a year ago that such an event might occur due to the site’s location and the leveling of the hill. She added that it wasn’t clear what was being built, or who was in charge of the construction, due to the absence of any sign displaying the contractor’s name.

Jerusalem has been experiencing a rare and strong winter storm that has dumped large quantities of water on the city since Friday night. The Israel Meteorological Service predicts that this week could bring precipitation equal to the average rainfall for the entire month of January, with snow possible in the capital Wednesday.

The rescued animals have found temporary homes, with 15 adopted by the Jerusalem Veterinary Service, Granot said. Thirty-five other dogs were taken in by volunteers and 100 remain at the animal haven.

City Hall inspectors arrived after the flooding and mudslide damaged the outdoor animal areas and kennels, spoke with Society Manager Chaya Beili, and left within a few minutes, Granot said.

Beili said she spoke to the two City Hall inspectors. One of them asked who the contractor responsible for the construction site was and another was taking pictures of kennel damage. Beili said there seems to be general lack of clarity regarding who was responsible for the construction above the shelter.

Beili also said that the only hint of hope she’s received from City Hall was a phone call from city council member Meir Margalit’s (Meretz) office.

“I don’t know that they can really start cleaning up this mess because this wall of dirt needs to be strengthened and the fence needs to be fixed but I don’t know if they can do this while it’s raining,” she said.

The society is now looking for volunteers to help rebuild the shelter. Gardeners are being asked to volunteer to cut and remove a fallen tree, fences need to be built and contractors who would like to donate their time for general repairs are being asked to lend a hand.

Those who wish to assist in the rebuilding efforts are asked to call Sharon at 057-470-0221 or 050-717-7545.

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