Animal welfare is still at its infancy in Cambodia. Animals are often considered as a nuisance, food, or as property. There is a lack of knowledge and understanding about how to care for animals, and consequently there are high rates of abuse and neglect, and dogs and cats are often sold for meat.
WHAT WE DO
Creating Sustainable Animal Welfare
Our mission is to create sustainable animal welfare in Cambodia, and end suffering for Cambodian street cats and dogs.
We are committed to sustainable and long-lasting change in Cambodia, and work closely with local communities.
- tackling overpopulation through neutering programs,
- educating local communities and schools about animal welfare, and
- improving the quality of veterinary care through training.
Changing human behavior is the key to our motivation, as it is the only way to truly improve the future of Cambodian street animals.
Changing Community Perceptions
There is a common misconception that pagodas are a safe-haven for animals, which unfortunately encourages people to dump their unwanted pets there. Monks and caretakers often want to help, but they are unsure of how to care for the animals. Scarce food, overcrowding and infectious diseases all contribute to a high mortality rate.
This is why community outreach is one of the most important pillars to our work. We are building close relationships with monks and caretakers in each pagoda to increase their knowledge and engage them in feeding, sterilizing and medicating the animals.
We also visit schools and community events to educate the public about responsible pet ownership, and encourage people to adopt, rather than buying from pet shops.
Stray animals dominate Cambodia’s streets, and the problem continues to rise. The local community is often unable to care for the animals, which has lead to an increase in the spread of disease, and a trend to sell animals to the cruel and barbaric meat trade.
To effectively address overpopulation, we operate a sustainable spay/neuter program in targeted areas of Phnom Penh. We do this in close participation with the local community, to ensure that we gain their support for spaying and neutering, and ultimately caring for the animals in their streets. Read our blog post to learn more about the importance of neutering.
Improving the Quality of Veterinary Care
In Cambodia, aspiring veterinarians study for four years at the University of Agriculture, to receive their full qualification. The degree concentrates primarily on the care of livestock including cows, pigs and buffalo, and little is taught about dogs and cats. There are few practical lessons and we find that even after graduating, students are not able to perform simple procedures or operations.
In order to increase the standard, we train local veterinary staff by employing them alongside an experienced expatriate vet, who teaches and guides them. In the future we hope to work more closely with the university, to improve the standard of veterinary care outside of just our centre.
Finding Homes for the Forgotten
While on outreach missions to pagodas and communities, we often come across animals that require immediate veterinary care. We take responsibility to rehabilitate each animal and ideally release them back to the community.
Where this is not possible, for health or other reasons, we try to find a foster home and hopefully, adopt them into a forever home.
If you interested in adopting or fostering a rescued animal, meet them all here.
Since Animal Rescue Cambodia was established in 2016, we have rescued, treated, and rehabilitated more than 11,000 animals!
animals neutered/ spayed
vaccinations administered (rabies, other diseases)
animals adopted into forever homes
It all began in 2016 when our founder, Tina Mayr, spotted a terribly neglected dog living within the grounds of a high school in Phnom Penh. He was suffering from several health issues and had difficulty walking, as his fur had grown uncontrollably due to years of neglect.
Tina was truly shocked, not only by his appearance, but also by the indifference of the students and their unwillingness to help the dog. She reached out to local clinics in Cambodia but the scale of the problem far overwhelmed their capacity.
Through this experience, Tina was inspired to establish Animal Rescue Cambodia, and since then we operate under the following principle:
“I used to say: ‘Somebody should do something about that.’ Then I realized, I am somebody.”
The dog, Henry, had a full recovery and is now our resident and an honorary Animal Rescue Cambodia ‘ambassadog’.
Martina (Tina) Mayr
Founder and Director
I initially came to Cambodia while working with a different organization, but when I saw the state of the animals in Phnom Penh I knew I had to do something. I found my best friend, Henry the dog, matted and riddled with disease and I thought enough is enough. I started ARC as a way to not only help animals, but to bring education to the community. Truly, changing the mindset toward the animals around us is our goal. Dogs and cats are so important in the scope of the human experience, and at ARC we want to help people find the value and the love that these animals have to offer.
Before coming to ARC I studied at the Royal University of Agriculture in their veterinary medicine program. While at school I was taken on as an intern in their animal hospital. I also completed an internship at the Pasteur Institute where I worked as a laboratory technician helping to prevent the spread of rabies. Here at ARC I enjoy taking care of the animals without homes. Also, I really love working with the pagodas to help manage and reduce the populations of stray animals in their care. I want to help the people of Cambodia understand that dogs and cats should be taken care of and loved.