Used bottles of vinegar, used to clean up after 170 rescued street dogs, are attached to a fence on Eva Ruppel's Tikiri Trust shelter near Kandy, Sri Lanka, on Wednesday, February 21, 2018.
It is impossible to visit Sri Lanka without seeing street dogs in nearly every public space, near hotels, guest houses and restaurants, schools, offices, markets, hospitals, police stations, bus terminals, railway stations, temples, etc. These dogs do not have their own homes, but they are usually highly tolerated and are typically fed collectively by people in a particular area.
According to the NGO, Kandy Association for Community Protection through Animal Welfare (KACPAW), 100 unsterilized dogs will give rise to 3,000 dogs in one year. The Sri Lankan government, as well as several NGOs, work to spay/neuter animals, but there is need to educate the public and maintain funds to stay on top of their efforts.
Eva Ruppel left Germany for a three-month visit to Sri Lanka, which included time in a Buddhist meditation retreat, and she remains in this island nation 37 years later.
While married, Ruppel’s husband asked that the couple keep only three dogs in their home at any one time, and she respected his wishes. This 60-something year old lost her husband to a ruptured brain blood vessel in 1995 when he was 51 years old, after nine years of marriage. After his death, she began rescuing more and more animals and she now lives with 170 dogs, plus a dozen or so cats.
With the support of her father, she started Tikiri Trust. Her father passed away in 2011, and he left her an inheritance, which she continues to use to support her cause.
Ruppel, who is fluent in German, English and Sinhala, said that she has found homes for “hundreds, if not thousands” of dogs. She also provides free spay/neuter clinics and free treatment of sick animals. A local area vet comes to her rural shelter several times a month to provide sterilizations and routine health checks and animals sometime