By. Justin Mays
Many do not realize it until they arrive in Istanbul, but street animals are an integral part of the social fabric of the city. When you search in different neighborhoods for a property for sale in Istanbul you will soon discover that many of your neighbors will be special non-human members of the community, since Istanbul is home to approximately 400,000 to 600,000 stray dogs and cats.
Taking a cue from the success of the Kedi, a documentary on the cats of Istanbul, another filmmaker, Elizabeth Lo, has made Stray to portray the story of the urban street dogs, once again highlighting animal members of Turkish society. Lo told the Washington Post that she was struck by “seeing dogs roaming around freely, living life on their own terms, in this very developed city,” and by the relationship she observed between them and Istanbul’s human residents.
“People really see a dignity in the dogs, they see them as fellow citizens, as belonging to their streets and communities,” she says. Local vets and residents often put out bowls of food and water, provide medical care for ill animals in addition to spay-neuter programs, and make shelters for the city’s stray dogs and cats. In 2004 the country’s first animal protection law was passed, requiring municipalities to take care of them and prohibit abuse. There are many local charities established to help get these animals adopted and volunteer opportunities available too. Animal lovers from abroad looking for flats for sale in Istanbul or to buy a villa in Istanbul will have the added benefit of making furry friends in the neighborhood or knowing that if they bring their pets from abroad that they will be moving to a country that offers great care and respects animal welfare.
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