Ex-soldier running animal shelter in war zone

A former soldier is braving a daily threat of violence to run an animal shelter in Afghanistan.

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Louise Hastie, of Wednesbury, runs the Nowzad Animal Rescue Shelter in Kabul which aims to improve the lives of the country’s strays.

Through Nowzad, the 39-year-old provides food and veterinary care to the city’s many unwanted dogs, cats and donkeys that are injured and starving.

Nowzad was established by Pen Farthing, who served as a Royal Marine for more than 20 years and is well known for its work in rescuing strays adopted by foreign soldiers serving in Afghanistan.The charity went on to establish the first officially recognised shelter in Afghanistan and aims to educate local people on the most effective and humane methods of caring for the animals along with a neutering programme to combat the large stray dog population problem.

Louise, a former pupil of Alumwell Business and Enterprise College in Walsall, served as a soldier in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Following her tour of duty, she returned to the country as a security contractor and rescued her own cat, Simba. She then got in touch with Nowzad to help other soldiers to get their adopted animals out of the country.

Last year she started to work full time for the company and manages the main shelter in Kabul.

She said: “Living conditions are very basic, sometimes you have power and sometimes not. There is always a very real danger of attacks and scary incidents do happen but we get security reports from the forces and are vigilant at all times.”

The shelter has 60 dogs and 20 cats up for adoption.