Earthquake Updates: PETA UK’s Rescuing Cats, Dogs, and Birds Trapped After the Earthquake in Turkey
Update (3 March 2023): Rescuers Brave Unstable Buildings to Save Animals
The team supported by PETA’s Global Compassion Fund carefully loaded a homeless cat with a painfully broken tail into the rescue vehicle so he could be treated at the closest veterinary clinic. About to leave the area, they were suddenly stopped by relentless, hoarse cries coming from a nearby rooftop.
They looked up to see a cat standing on the roof’s narrow ledge, staring down at them. Afraid he would jump, one brave rescuer quickly scaled a broken iron fence to reach the closest balcony. From there, she squeezed her way through a small hole in the wall to get to the damaged building’s staircase. Once she was on the roof, the hungry cat went straight to the pungent food inside the carrier. Success!
The team arrived at the clinic, where the vet scanned for a microchip that revealed a mobile phone number. The cat’s grateful guardian called out his name, Duman, which caused him to arch his back and rub against the device. The pair have since been reunited and are now in a safer location in Turkey!
Update (27 February 2023): Rescuers Race Against Time to Save Animals as Buildings Are Demolished
Turkey struggled with animal overpopulation before the devastating earthquakes, and countless cats and dogs who relied on scraps from shops and restaurants to survive are now finding only dust and debris where those establishments once stood. Desperate to fill their stomachs, they gather wherever they can find a morsel to eat.
Police overseeing demolitions are delivering food to cats who have begun using the nearby unstable structures for shelter and assisting the team, supported by PETA’s Global Compassion Fund, in getting in and out of the buildings quickly, taking the animals to safety. Rescuers only have a short window of time before crews begin razing the buildings!
The team loaded up with food, traps, carriers, and other supplies and quickly got to work, scooping up as many cats as they could fit into the rescue vehicles, and then off they drove to safety at a partner veterinary clinic. Now the cats are being treated and are on the roster for sterilisations to combat the overpopulation crisis. Meet just a few of the precious beings rescuers saved that day:
Update (27 February 2023): MUST WATCH – Venus Reunited With Grateful Guardians
Venus’ guardians went back to their damaged apartment hoping to find their beloved cat but came out empty-handed. Their luck changed when they met up with rescuers supported by PETA’s Global Compassion Fund. Knowing she was likely terrified from the tumult of the earthquakes and aftershocks, the team had to search hard for her. They found the traumatised cat hiding in a dark, tight space behind a washing machine and skilfully coaxed her into a carrier. Get out your tissues: this sweet reunion will pull at your heartstrings!
Hell No, We Won’t Go Without the Cat!
Near the shattered glass entryway of a building, the team could hear a cat loudly calling for help from somewhere inside. Following the desperate mews, they discovered him behind a padlocked door in the basement. A nearby police officer refused to open it, saying it would be against the law to enter government grounds. They quickly found another officer, who was slightly more sympathetic and called the fire department, but it, too, refused to assist, citing the law and saying it was just too dangerous. But our rescuers were not going to abandon this cat! After the police had left, one of the team members slipped back inside the building and raced down the stairs into the pitch-black basement. She smashed a glass window in the door with a hammer, and out came the cat, straight into the carrier. With this “mini rebellion” over, everyone rejoiced, and “Kirk” the cat celebrated with a lot of long-missed food and water.
Update (23 February 2023): Trapped Cat Inside! Demolition Crews Set to Collapse Unstable Buildings
Antakya, one of the hardest-hit regions in Turkey, is chaotic with activity, as the military, police, and demolition crews work to bring down unstable buildings. But hold on! Rescuers, supported by PETA’s Global Compassion Fund, spotted a cat who was trapped in one of the structures marked for demolition.
They heard the cat mewing loudly from an upper balcony, his ears tilted forward, as if he might jump. A crane was nearby, but the police refused to allow it near the building, saying it was too dangerous. Meanwhile, Teo, a PETA UK rescuer, wasn’t about to let the cat be crushed. She threw caution to the wind, ran inside the building, scrambled up the damaged stairs, kicked open a locked door, and reached the traumatised cat just in time! Tony, as the cat was called, was soon eating and drinking and on his way to the veterinarian.
Outside, the team had found an old dog they called Wallace, sleeping in the debris-strewn grass. Wounds on his face needed to be examined by a veterinarian. He woke up as his rescuers slowly approached, lowering his head, thumping his big tail, and delicately taking the food they offered. Despite all he’d been through, without a guardian to care for him, look at how this sweet boy returned the love in the photo below while the team gently caressed him and used antiseptic spray on his injuries:
A frantic father and son were scouring the area for help when they spotted the team rescuing animals nearby. They asked the team to rescue two cats they had left behind in two different buildings when they fled from the earthquake. The rescuers quickly found one cat, called Bordun, and rushed her to the appreciative father:
The father was too afraid to enter the other apartment building, but our team members did. They discovered a cat’s bowls of food and water untouched, but the animal was nowhere to be found. He had likely darted out through a large hole in the wall during the quake.
However, Little Bidi, whom another guardian had requested the team’s help in locating, was rescued that day:
PETA’s team got a call from a distressed guardian, whose cat Bidi was trapped in an unstable building.
There was barely a floor left to walk on, but our brave rescuer rushed to her rescue… Here’s what happened next.#PETAEarthquakeRescue pic.twitter.com/h4zDWrhY9D
— PETA UK (@PETAUK) February 25, 2023
After the rescued animals were scanned for microchips and none were found, the crew headed to the veterinary clinic in Adana. They helped the overwhelmed staff there by walking the dogs and offering food and water to the animals while the veterinarian tended to Tony, Wallace, and the others.
Update (22 February 2023): Rescuers Finding Animals Alive Among the Rubble
Global Compassion Fund partner HARK is getting reports from guardians who contact their emergency line, most recently asking them to try to locate three cats who were left behind. PETA UK’s teams are on the ground, following up on the requests as they look for any stranded, starving animals.
At the first stop, the team spotted cats James and Samir observing them. The handsome fellows were fed, scooped up, and safely secured in the rescue vehicle. Off to the next location!
Recent aftershocks left the road to another cat impassable, so the team grabbed food and traps before putting on hard hats and setting off on foot. Soldiers saw them coming and pointed them to two cats hiding in the rubble. Turşu and Mia were famished and came towards the food the team laid out for them, making it easy to gather them up.
A resident still living in the area saw what the rescue team was doing, and beckoned them to follow him. A cat he had been feeding, Lori, had an injured paw from falling debris during the quake, and he wanted the team to have her leg tended to and to give her the chance to be taken from this unsafe place and adopted.
Spotting several other cats in the area, the team honed in on one with a painful eye injury. He had his ears flattened and his back arched, clearly terrified. The team slowly set out the trap and some pungent food, sure to entice him, and with success! Now, he will get the help he needs.
The team fed the rest of the cats in the area and left a supply of food behind for the man who refuses to leave and is feeding the remaining cats. That’s when sweet Olaf confidently approached them, tail upright, softly meowing. They returned his affections before lifting him into a carrier, then set off for the veterinary clinic in Adana. CB will need to have his eye – as well as a couple of painfully infected teeth – removed, but the vet has good news: Lori will heal quickly from her broken toes.
Once some of the animals the team has rescued over the weeks heal, they will be moved to HARK’s sanctuary – a safe haven for rescued animals supported by PETA’s Global Compassion Fund. Its partnership with PETA started before the earthquakes, and it became a loving home for some now-happy white pigs PETA entities rescued from experiments in laboratories.
Update (21 February 2023): Danger as Two Huge Aftershocks Rock Turkey
Rescuers supported by PETA’s Global Compassion Fund had just plucked starving earthquake survivors Quaid, Kim, and Ada from the debris-filled streets of Antakya when a dust-covered Turkish army vehicle pulled up to them. A soldier emerged and handed the team a bundle containing Roberta, a frightened puppy his squad had rescued from a nearby collapsed building.
Then, just as they were preparing to leave for the clinic in Adana with their latest rescues, the ground they were standing on began moving violently. A 6.3-magnitude earthquake was rolling through the area, collapsing damaged buildings they had searched only hours earlier. The team hardly had a chance to calm their nerves when that nasty scare was followed by a 5.6-magnitude aftershock! While all were shaken up, thankfully no one was hurt, and they soon set off with a van full of rescued animals.
In Adana, staff at the veterinary clinic, which had already been damaged, were shaken by this latest quake, too, and were now facing a new problem: they were becoming overwhelmed by the sheer number of rescued animals needing urgent care!
One member of the team quickly worked with the head veterinarian to find a solution: the clinic would hire more temporary staff to help feed and care for the survivors, and rescuers would arrange to transport some of the animals to another clinic that had more space.
Quaid, Roberta, Kim, and 14 other uninjured dogs and cats are now heading on the long drive to Istanbul to be reunited with their families or to find new loving homes.
Update (20 February 2023): Wounded Animals Rescued From Unstable Buildings and Rubble
Although today, a new, terrible 6.3-magnitude earthquake hit the very area where PETA UK’s rescuers are working, the team is determined to continue its life-saving work sifting through the rubble of destroyed cities and reaching into unstable blocks of flats using equipment or sheer guts to come to the aid of animals in desperate need.
Update (19 February 2023):
Panicked guardians have been desperately calling on PETA UK to help search for and save their animals who are left in the remains of their abandoned homes. Whether these calls require staff members to climb through mountains of rubble, risk entering unstable premises, or hire a crane to reach the highest levels of buildings, the team is responding to all cries for help.
Using a crane paid for by PETA’s Global Compassion Fund, soldiers were able to spot Elsa on the second floor of a building. The team managed to enter via a damaged stairwell to reach her, and they were greeted by her meows as soon as they got the flat door opened. While Elsa is skinny, she’s in good condition, and we hope that her microchip can be used to reunite her with her guardians.
Elsa’s story is a reminder that microchipping your animal companions is essential.
Elmo was a sweet puppy PETA UK staff members rushed to an emergency clinic after finding him in Antakya. The veterinarians did all they could to save Elmo, who was found with horrific life-threatening injuries, likely sustained when he tried to free himself from the collapsed debris. He was suffering terribly and, with a heavy heart, the veterinarian deemed that humane euthanasia was the kindest option for Elmo. He is now at peace.
PETA UK staff members responded to a desperate call from a couple pleading with them to rescue their cat, Paul, from the third floor of another precarious building. Just as the team readied themselves to climb onto the crane, they spotted Paul on the ground floor! He was taken to a veterinarian and is now waiting to be reunited with his loving family.
Rescue missions such as these are wholly supported by PETA’s Global Compassion Fund, which is providing animals with the lifeline they urgently need.
Update (18 February 2023):
Leona – named after the British singer for her attention-grabbing, belting voice – was heard crying loudly from a balcony on the fourth floor of an unstable block of flats. PETA’s Global Compassion Fund helped fund a crane, and the PETA UK rescuers teamed up with local animal protection group Hachiko to reach the balcony. The PETA UK crew pushed open the balcony door, and after quickly scooping up little Leona, they carried her back down the crumbling stairs. Leona is thin and dehydrated after being trapped for 12 days in the ruined building, but she’s now safely recovering.
The PETA UK team also partnered with Hachiko to rescue three cats from the fourth floor of another unstable building. After over an hour of smashing at the flat’s metal entranceway with hammers, wrenches, and anything they could find, the team finally broke down the door and were able to enter and rescue Jeffrey, Ella, and Chloe. The terrified animals were found hiding in the lining of a couch and cowering inside a wardrobe.
The PETA UK team found Judy hobbling on a painful, wounded leg that had been wrapped in a now-filthy bandage. After speaking to local people, they discovered she had been hit by a car a few days earlier, and in a rudimentary attempt to help her, someone had wrapped an old scarf around her wound, which had since become dirty and smelly, resulting in an infection. She was driven to veterinarians at the HAYTAP camp to be given painkillers, antibiotics, and lots of love!
Update (17 February 2023):
PETA UK staff members spread out across Adana, Ankara, and Kahramanmaraş to save more lives. Read these rescue updates from the team – they are sure to melt your heart.
Pisa was found in the remains of her destroyed home. Terrified, she was initially weary of the rescuer’s helping hands – but she was also too hungry to resist the food offered to her. Now, she is happily cosying up with the team in the knowledge she is safe and warm.
Ceku, who is only 4 months old, was found in Kahramanmaraş with terrible wounds and puncture marks all over her neck after being attacked by other dogs. PETA UK took this sweet girl to a veterinary clinic in Adana, where her wounds are healing.
Members of Henry’s family perished in the earthquake over two weeks ago. His only remaining guardian, now destitute, made the heartbreaking choice to hand him over to rescue workers who could help treat his broken rear leg and find him a new, loving home. PETA UK drove him from Kahramanmaraş to a clinic in Adana so his injuries could be treated.
These stories cover just a few of the many animals saved and helped that day. The PETA UK team also partnered with local animal protection group Hachiko to rescue a cat from a balcony, who was reunited with their extremely grateful guardian.
Local animal protection group HAYTAP has also set up an emergency veterinary clinic in a tent in the destroyed city of Antakya, Hatay. PETA UK’s team on the ground has also been delivering wounded animals to this makeshift clinic so they can receive the care they urgently need.
Update (16 February 2023): Day 6: Moments of Hope Amidst the Misery and Chaos
“As the images of the fractured cities of Syria and Turkey fade from our television screens and social media feeds, as they inevitably will, I want to encourage people to continue to do all they can to help the victims – of all species – because they really do need all the support they can get.”
– Mimi Bekhechi, Vice President, PETA UK
It’s been almost two weeks since a massive earthquake tore through Turkish cities like Marash, and for dozens of distressed and frightened animals, such as Bruno, Sarah, and Bear, the lifesaving work of rescuers like PETA UK’s Mimi Bekhechi is bringing hope – as well as food, warmth, and much-needed care – to the ruins of the ravaged city.
Sarah was trembling, terrified from her ordeal, but the team knew something else was wrong when she couldn’t keep down the food the team gave her. And she couldn’t move. As seen in the photo, Mimi and the team gently loaded her into a rescue van that whisked her to veterinary care to try to determine what’s wrong and if she can be saved.
Bruno had been found alone, tethered to a post amongst the rubble. This sweet, friendly pup’s energy contrasted with the dull, grey landscape as the team approached him. He appeared to be uninjured and was happy to have food and water before going to the vet.
A massive 2-month-old dog named Bear bounded towards the rescuers, the big bowl of food and water waiting for him a welcome sight. He, too, was saved and went with them.
The team headed into what was left of a house, where they found four cats. All were taken – along with Sarah, Bruno, and Bear – to the closest veterinary office, which was hours away.
When they arrived, all three dogs tested negative for parvovirus – which was a relief – and many of the animals were hungry. Sarah’s blood work confirmed liver and kidney problems, likely from ingesting something poisonous.
It was a long day, but the team dug deep to find a second wind. More foster homes must be located. Later, once all the injured dogs and cats have healed, everyone – including those with fosters – will be driven to Istanbul and Ankara, where loving families will adopt them.
Next, a couple of team members headed to Hatay province to see if they could find someone going into Syria who could help with the establishment of a new supply chain for shelters there, while the rest of the team headed back to Marash to try to find cats who are trapped in the worst-affected area.
Even now, days after the catastrophe struck, a few humans and animals are still being pulled from the rubble alive. Rescuers supported by PETA’s Global Compassion Fund will be in the region as long as animals need the lifelines they’re providing.
Update (14 February 2023): Day 5 on the Ground Helping Animals
The 40 birds the team rescued from a destroyed shop a few days ago are on their way to a sanctuary in Ankara after getting the OK from the vet who examined them. As the team was saying their goodbyes, they noticed that some of them had recovered enough from their ordeal to couple up and had begun preening each other.
The team was in Marash loading up on rescue supplies and looking for animals in distress when they heard little Lewis meowing loudly. His sad, lonely cries for help led rescuers right to the spot among the destroyed buildings where he was holed up. Lewis was desperately hungry, like other survivors the team has helped so far, but, thankfully, uninjured.
Destroyed buildings surround the busy intersection where the team found Zack begging for food. His rescuer scooped him into a carrier and moved him to a safer location away from the constant stream of cars and trucks whizzing by and is working to find homes for both him and Lewis.
The team found Fred trying to manoeuvre his way through a dangerous mess of shattered glass and was able to prevent him from becoming injured. He warmed up to his rescuer immediately, enjoying the food she offered, and soon he, too, joined the other rescued animals.
Support Reaches Animals in Syria
Global Compassion Fund support is also helping cats, dogs, chickens, and other animals in Syria. A partner organisation needed help with food, veterinary care, and fuel to transport them to the nearest clinic, more than 350 kilometres away, so we stepped in to provide the funds.
Update (14 February 2023): You won’t want to miss these sweet rescues from Turkey!
Day 4 on the Ground Helping Animals
PETA’s partners are closing in on 60 rescues! Our Global Compassion Fund is supporting members of partner organisations and other rescuers who are risking their lives – buildings are continuing to collapse – to pull animals to safety after massive earthquakes in Turkey and Syria destroyed everything they’ve ever known. PETA UK’s team on the ground has pulled animals from the rubble and relieved other rescuers of having to rush cats, dogs, and birds to veterinarians and safe houses. Another rescuer from PETA US joined the team today, expanding its capacity to help.
Meet a Few of the Recently Rescued Animals
This is Talia, who was found limping through the devastated streets of Marash with a hideously painful, broken hip likely caused by debris falling from crumbling buildings. She had spent the days following the earthquake trying to stay warm and find food amidst the misery and chaos surrounding her, all while pregnant. Talia is now safe at a clinic in Adana, where she’s undergoing hip surgery.
Thanks to generous Global Compassion Fund supporters, Valentina is getting the vital emergency help she needs. This puppy is deeply traumatised, and her leg is broken in two places. Her intense pain was bad enough, but now she may lose her leg. We took her to a veterinary clinic, where she’s receiving care and pain relievers.
The vet examining Finn revealed that this poor cat had already healed from a broken leg just before the earthquake! Luckily, Finn somehow managed to avoid falling debris and collapsing buildings without injury. She has had a bout of stomach woes – likely from scavenging through the ruins for food – but is now resting with a full stomach of nutritious food and is otherwise healthy, safe, and ready for a better life ahead!
Update (14 February 2023): Rescued! Plucked From the Rubble of an Earthquake Epicentre
Survivors! Rescuers supported by PETA’s Global Compassion Fund have been digging through what’s left of destroyed buildings to rescue any surviving animals and get them veterinary care, if needed.
This sweet dog was found in the rubble at one of the earthquake epicentres in Elbistan, Turkey. She had gone for days without food and was suffering tremendously from a broken leg! The team rushed her to the closest veterinary clinic for surgery, and the Global Compassion Fund is paying the bills. As it’s doing for many other animals, partner group Vegan Derneği Türkiye (TVD) is already working to find her a loving home to recover in.
Soldiers helping quake victims had seen this terrified cat limping through the ruins for a few days but had had no luck catching her. After rescuers managed to scoop her up and take her to a veterinarian, the team was alarmed to learn that the soldiers had spotted her with a kitten, too! Rescuers are heading back to Elbistan to search for the kitten, while TVD is posting the photo on social media to try to locate her guardians, if they’re still alive. Stay tuned for more updates.
PETA US is sending another fieldworker to join rescuers from PETA UK, and they’ll do whatever is needed the most. Meanwhile, PETA US has shipped 200 fur coats – donated by its kind members who realised what the animals used for them endured and who will never wear fur again – to Turkey and Syria to warm those who are now homeless and freezing cold.
Update (13 February 2023): PETA UK Rushes to Help Animals With Broken Bones Who Were Trapped in Rubble
This morning, PETA UK helped the plucky local volunteers from a shelter in Elbistan, a town at the epicentre of one of Turkey’s two devastating earthquakes. These heroes have been risking everything to dig through rubble and pull animals from buildings that have collapsed or are about to fall. They have been able to provide animals with food and water, something they have gone without for days, and PETA UK are able to pitch in to help them: PETA UK is now rushing two puppies, two cats with broken bones, and another cat whose vision appears to have been impaired to the closest veterinary clinic in the city of Adana for urgent medical attention.
All were pulled from the rubble of collapsed buildings, and who knows what their level of trauma is. It is a seven-hour journey to get them veterinary attention, so PETA UK are making tracks to get them that help as quickly as possible.
These animals likely suffered for days, trapped under the debris in near-freezing temperatures. They desperately need treatment and care.
After taking these animals to a veterinary clinic, PETA UK will return right away to the stricken Kahramanmaraş area to help more animals who have been trapped or otherwise injured in the catastrophe. Check back later for further updates.
Update (12 February 2023): PETA UK Brings 40 Birds Trapped in a Pet Shop to Safety
PETA UK have arrived in Turkey to help dogs, cats, birds, and other animals trapped, frightened, injured, or left homeless by the earthquake.
Today, working with local rescuers, they managed to bring 40 birds from a damaged pet shop in the city of Kahramanmaraş to safety.
The shop was located in the basement of a building that was about to collapse. Sadly, the cats, dogs, and fish who were trapped in the shop had already died, but these 40 survivors are now in safe hands and will be examined by veterinarians before being driven to a sanctuary near Ankara tomorrow.
Stay tuned for more updates from the ground.
The earthquake in Syria and Turkey is a catastrophe for humans – and for dogs, cats, and other animals left homeless, frightened, and injured.
Every minute poses a struggle for survival for them as many wander through the rubble while contending with untreated injuries and bone-chilling cold.
PETA Entities Rescue Mission
PETA rescuers are on the ground in Turkey rescuing animals and working with locals in Turkey to distribute dog and cat food, rescue equipment, and other urgently needed supplies in some of the most devastated areas. We have also provided support in Syria through a partner organisation to buy diesel fuel for their vehicles, feed animals, and get injured ones the veterinary care they need, which is a long journey away. And more than 230 fur coats, donated to PETA by people who had a change of heart about wearing them, have made their way to Life for Relief and Development, which is coordinating their distribution to survivors of the earthquake.
This latest crisis comes as PETA Germany and its partners in Ukraine are still actively helping abandoned and injured animals on the front lines of the war there, providing them with food and veterinary care. All such resources are supported by Global Compassion Fund donors.
Support Vital Rescue Missions
Please don’t wait – animals’ lives are at stake. Your generous donation will give a real boost to rescuers who are helping animals in Syria, Turkey, and elsewhere around the globe.