During his deployment with the British Royal Marines in 2006, Paul “Pen” Farthing began an animal rescue after breaking up a fight between two dogs in the town of Nawzad. One of the dogs followed Farthing, and the two quickly became bonded; at the end of his deployment the marine sought to bring the dog back to the United Kingdom with him.
And the animal charity Nowzad began -dogs and cats who befriended soldiers while in Afghanistan would be reunited at home. Since then more than 1,600 animals have been cared for, and nearly 200 cats and dogs have joined their military humans after returning home. Farthing’s book, One Dog at a Time helps to fund the work of the animal sanctuary.
On Wednesday morning, good news came from British Defense Secretary, Benn Wallace concerning the 140 dogs and 60 cats that needed to get out of the country by August 31 or would have to be euthanized. “Operation Ark” seems to be ready to move forward.
“Now that Pen Farthing’s staff have been cleared to come forward under LOTR I have authorized MoD [Ministry of Defence] to facilitate their processing alongside all other eligible personnel at HKIA [Leave Outside the Immigration Rules]
At that stage, if he arrives with his animals we will seek a slot for his plane.
If he does not have his animals with him he and his staff can board an RAF flight. I have been consistent all along ensuring those most at risk are processed first and that the limiting factor has been flow THROUGH to airside NOT airplane capacity.”Benn Wallace British Defence Secretary
Farthing and his supporters of Nowzad had raised enough money to charter an Airbus A330 out of Kabul, but at the time British officials had argued that “thousands and thousands” of people needed to be the priority. All 69 members of Nowzad’s staff and their immediate families have been granted visas.
The aircraft Nowzad had planned to use would be able to seat 250 people – Farthing volunteered the extra seating to people in need. The animals were to be safely stowed in the cargo area of the plane.
According to the Guardian, a Nowzad supporter in the UK, veterinary surgeon Dr.Iain McGill, stated people were ready to take in the animals once brought to Britain.
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