Turkey’s Interior Ministry recently issued a letter urging local administrations to protect and feed the country’s hundreds of thousands of stray dogs and cats, as residents stay at home to contain the spread of coronavirus.
“Food and water will be left at the living environments of street animals, such as parks and gardens, and particularly animal shelters,” the ministry wrote in the notice. “All necessary measures must be taken to ensure stray animals don’t go hungry.”
Turkish society has a strong cultural emphasis on caring for animals in need. Municipal veterinarians vaccinate strays, and citizens help ensure their safety as part of everyday life. New stay-at-home orders and social distancing policies are heavily impacting these animals, who normally rely on the general public for nourishment, especially in Istanbul where there are over 150,00 stray cats and nearly 130,000 stray dogs, according to the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality.