Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. Earth Science News .

Subscribe to our free daily newsletters

Libya vet steered Noah's ark of pets to safety
By Rim Taher
Tripoli (AFP) Oct 23, 2015

When evacuated foreigners left hundreds of pets behind at the outbreak of Libya's 2011 revolution, Tripoli vet Jalal Kaal braved missiles, militia checkpoints and long terrifying drives to reunite them with their owners.

"If I had to, I would do it again," says Kaal, a tall, slim 50-year-old man with smiling eyes.

When the popular uprising against longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi broke out in February 2011, many foreigners had to leave suddenly and were unable to take their pets with them, Kaal explains.

In the chaos of the evacuations of diplomats and foreign workers four years ago, several called him from the airport to ask if he could collect their pets and take them in.

As Kadhafi's regime cracked down on protesters in and around the capital, Kaal and an assistant drove to several neighbourhoods to find the stranded animals.

In total they rescued some 250 pets, including 200 cats and dogs, tortoises, guinea pigs and a parrot named Charlie.

He gave them shelter inside his practice, in a southwestern suburb of Tripoli, right next door to a building previously used by Kadhafi's intelligence services.

"Missiles were falling so close that the clinic's ceiling fell in," he says.

But he braved the rockets and bombs raining down around the building to reach the clinic to feed and tend to his "refugee" pets.

"With my children, we'd take the animals out in groups for a walk and a cuddle," explains Kaal.

- 'Evacuation missions' -

An assistant from Chad helped him throughout the adventure that year until October, when Libya's NATO-backed revolutionaries declared the country's "liberation".

"He slept in the clinic, watching over the animals and feeding them, and cleaning," he says.

"But I really couldn't have done without him when we started our missions to evacuate the animals" a few weeks into the revolution, he adds.

Kaal and a Libyan colleague would drive 300 kilometres (190 miles) across the border to the Tunisian airport at Djerba, while his Chadian assistant stayed at the practice to look after the remaining animals.

The pet owners' employers had organised for shipping companies to evacuate their animals by plane, Kaal says, but their plans fell through after the Tripoli airport closed due to clashes.

Soon the only option was to drive the animals out of the country and to Tunisia, where he had coordinated with a local vet to help with paperwork at the border.

"From February to October 2011, I drove 15 times from Tripoli to Djerba", from where the pets could be flown back to their owners, Kaal says.

"All the animals in my care were returned to their owners in good health," he says.

The only exception was Charlie the parrot, entrusted to him by a Venezuelan woman before she left. He and his family looked after it at home.

Charlie "roamed freely around the house. He spoke so well that it felt like he was taking part in our conversations. Everybody loved him."

But a few days before Tripoli was taken over by the revolutionaries, "a missile fell right next to the house. The explosion blew the windows open, and he flew away."

- 'Most terrifying day' -

Kaal says he had never been as scared as one night returning to Tripoli from the border.

At a pro-Kadhafi checkpoint that was regularly targeted by revolutionaries in the coastal town of Zawiya, militiamen "told us to drive with our lights off so we didn't become targets".

"A trip from Djerba to Tripoli that usually doesn't take more than four hours took us 14," he says. "It was the longest, the most tiring and the most terrifying day."

"It was only when we got back to Janzur" on the outskirts of Tripoli "that we looked at each other and burst out laughing."

Today -- with Libya divided between rival governments and still plagued by violence -- the clinic's rooms are run down and the cages that housed the animals are empty.

"I need to break it all down and build it up again to be more modern," Kaal says.

"Some of the pet owners still haven't paid their bills but... nothing is better than the joyful tears of the owners I reunited with their pets."

Despite his feat, the vet remains modest.

"I'm terrified by war," he says. "I've never even touched a handgun.

"I can tell you, I'm actually a great scaredy-cat."

Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once

credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly

paypal only


Related Links
Bringing Order To A World Of Disasters
A world of storm and tempest
When the Earth Quakes

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Previous Report
Hungarian PM says migrant flow 'look like army'
Madrid (AFP) Oct 22, 2015
Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban on Thursday defended his hardline stance against refugees, saying that "seventy percent of the migrants are young men and they look like an army". "What he have been facing is not a refugee crisis," he said in an address to the European People's Party congress, which groups conservative parties from across the European Union, in Madrid. "This is a mi ... read more

Libya vet steered Noah's ark of pets to safety

Hungarian PM says migrant flow 'look like army'

First Fukushima worker diagnosed with radiation-linked cancer: Japan official

Nearly 2,000 died in hajj stampede: foreign data

Nanoscale diamond 'racetrack' becomes breakthrough Raman laser

Deutsche Telekom, Huawei in cloud link to rival Amazon

Ukraine to receive U.S. radars by mid-November

Metal defects can be eliminated by cyclic loading

Beavers take a chunk out of nitrogen in Northeast rivers

Ocean heat content reveals secrets of fish migration behaviors

Scientists find some thrive in acid seas

Sunscreen chemicals may be killing coral reefs popular with tourists

Antarctic species threatened by willful misinterpretation of legal treaty

Warming opens famed Northwest Passage to navigation

Pakistan facing climate 'calamity' if warnings go unheeded

Formation of coastal sea ice in North Pacific drives ocean circulation

Australian technology allows cows' weights to be monitored from space

Syria's Arctic seed vault relocated to Morocco, Lebanon

Researchers learn how to keep pathogens, pests from traveling with grain

Trade in invasive plants is blossoming

Hurricane flattens Mexico homes, but major disaster averted

USGS questions study's alarming LA earthquake prediction

Patricia grows into major hurricane threatening Mexico

NASA Study Improves Understanding of LA Quake Risks

Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe wins Confucius Peace Prize

India reaches out to Africa in resources race with China

US offers Niger surveillance planes as Islamist attacks continue

Cow dung and old tyres inspire S.African township artists

Study: Cadaver arms suggest human fists evolved for punching, too

Mathematically modeling the mind

Being rich in the Middle Ages led to an unhealthy life

Third ancient spearhead found on N.J. shore

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement