RAMALLAH, Dec. 5 (Xinhua) -- To solve the long-standing problem of stray animals in the streets, the Palestinian city of Ramallah has established its first public veterinary center to treat these poor animals in the region.
"For years, the local residents, mainly children, have been suffering from random attacks by stray animals, which caused severe health consequences to victims," the Ramallah mayor Issa Kassis told Xinhua.
Meanwhile, those animals often fell victim to killings and abuses by people claiming to act out of self-protection, and some would go as far as publishing the cruel process online.
As a result, Kassis said that his municipality decided to take the matter into its own hands by adopting scientific and merciful methods in dealing with those "poor" animals and ensuring the safety of residents.
Since the launch of the center a few weeks ago, the municipality has succeeded in collecting about 100 stray dogs, out of the 600 living in Ramallah city, according to official data issued by the municipality.
"The collected stray dogs received medical care and were sterilized by professional veterinarians," Taha al-Rifai, the veterinarian supervising the sterilization operations, told Xinhua.
In addition, he adds, the center would make sure the dogs are safe for citizens before releasing them.
Stray dogs and cats suffer from violence as well as deliberate poisoning, said Emad al-Atrash, head of the Palestine Wildlife Society, the only institution working on animal protection in the West Bank.
He stressed that establishing a specialized center for stray dogs has become a popular demand to solve the problem in a humane manner, which helps to preserve animal life and achieve environmental balance.
Locals expressed their appreciation for the Ramallah municipality's efforts to deal with the problem of stray dogs, hoping that such an initiative could expand to cover all the governorates of the West Bank.
Fatima Abed, a Ramallah-based mother of three children, is pleased to see that all the stray dogs surrounding her house were transferred to the center.
"Now, my kids can go to their schools without fearing the dogs' attacks," she said.