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Lebanese dump dogs as cash crunch, virus set in

TRIPOLI — The sight of purebred dogs wandering on the roadside, still wearing their collars, has become a regular sight in Lebanon, as the dual crises of inflation and Covid-19 leave households at their wits-end.

On Monday, on the outskirts of the northern city of Tripoli, a flatbed truck pulled up to the property of “Uncle” Mahmoud – who for decades has taken in unwanted dogs on his sprawling property.

Inside was a yellow Labrador and her five puppies in two cardboard boxes. A teenage boy and his friend got out bashfully to unload the whimpering animals.

“This is what our Islam is today! People are so greedy they won’t even feed their dogs; they want everything for themselves,” growled Mahmoud as he walked from the trailer where he lives to the road.

A puppy stands in the entrance of “Uncle” Mahmoud’s home on the outskirts of the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli. Photo: Alison Tahmizian Meuse

But in a span of minutes, he took in the dogs anyway, finding a covered area next to his outdoor makeshift kitchen to allow the mother room to feed her pups.

101 dogs

Dogs are everywhere on the sprawling property, roaming alongside cats and chickens, and feeding off of piles of intestines – refuse from butchers and the only food their caretaker can secure for free.

“There’s at least 100 dogs here, look around,” he says in exasperation.

Almost all of them have arrived in the past four months, according to Zaynab Razzouk, who heads the animal protection NGO Carma in the neighboring district of Koura.

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