BUDAPEST – When I first visited Noé Állatotthon Alapítvány (Hungarian for Noah’s Ark Animal Shelter) on the outskirts of Budapest in June 2014, I was pleasantly surprised and a bit awestruck by the sheer numbers and varieties of animals whom the small staff care for on their few acres of land.
It is a monumental task providing daily basic necessities for the dogs, cats, foxes, deer, horses, pigs, ducks, and so many others who live at the shelter. More than 1,000 of them, in fact. Each animal species has its own area of the shelter, and where possible, the staff gives the different animals a chance to mingle and interact with one another… and sometimes with the human visitors to the shelter (that’s me with a sweet, gentle deer in the above photo).
What also struck me, and perhaps more importantly, was how happy all the animals seemed. They appeared to know that they were in a loving environment, surrounded by other animals in need and being cared for by dedicated people who work themselves tirelessly, with little help from the Hungarian government.
Noé is the largest animal shelter in Hungary, but at this point, they are stretched to capacity and regrettably are unable to accept any more animals for the time being. They just don’t have enough space or staff to do all the work necessary to provide daily quality care to any additional animals. They told me how horrible they feel whenever they are forced to reject an animal that desperately needs their help.
According to the Noé staff with whom I spoke, the government allows for only 1-2 percent of an individual’s taxes to go toward charitable causes, like animal welfare. So, on a yearly basis, Noé receives a paltry sum of funds from the state. Fundraising is a never-ending task for them, as a result.
The wonderful staff at Noé does the best it can to bring in volunteers on a weekly basis to assist them and educate the public on the needs and rights of our animal friends. They even have staff members appear regularly on local television stations to spread their message. But so much more needs to and can be done to help the good folks at Noé and to educate the Hungarian government in order to receive more state assistance (including strengthening laws for animal rights and penalties for animal abusers).
I spent a couple of hours at Noé over the course of two days, and made Nutmeg’s first-ever donation of food and supplies to this exemplary facility. The staff was thrilled beyond belief at my humble gesture, which endeared me to them and their cause all the more. ETS
Budapest, and Hungary in general, qualifies as a “trouble spot” that Nutmeg is targeting to provide regular relief. Your donation to Nutmeg will help us shoulder the enormous burden they currently bear.