Welfare of the dog community in Sri Lanka | Sunday Observer
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Welfare of the dog community in Sri Lanka

5 March, 2023

This week we reached out to another generous soul who has dedicated their life to the welfare of animals in Sri Lanka. The cofounder of nonprofit organization, ‘Dogs of Ella’. Doyel Dawson

Founded by social activists Jessica Nelly and Doyel Dawson with the goal of enhancing the lives of people and animals in the community. ‘Dogs of Ella’ strives to have a significant impact on the field of animal rights and welfare by collaborating with other national animal welfare organizations.

‘Dogs of Ella’ has two strategies to do this: one concentrates on caring for the animals that have already been abandoned, and the other shifts its focus to the human aspect of the issue and seeks to increase awareness via education. There are almost 50 animals housed at two facilities, one in Kumbalwella and othere in Haputale. The two facilities are where the dogs are rehabilitated and prepared for domestic or international adoption, working with a neighbourhood veterinarian.

Skeleton staff

‘Dogs of Ella’ is operated by a skeleton staff that works relentlessly to care for these rescues, take part in the campaign for animal rights and welfare, and earn money to cover operating costs. The organization receives no government funding. The team includes Doyel and Jessica. Their shelter manager Anuruddha and two young men work in the shelter, taking care of the animals.

Doyel is of the opinion that, whether it comes in the form of choosing to adopt rather than buy a new pet, funding, or volunteer work, we appreciate any and all assistance.

Talking about her inspiration to start ‘Dogs of Ella’, Doyel said that she met Jessica, in 2019 in a vet clinic and started talking about things and connected with her and realized their shared love and passion for animal welfare and decided to work together.

“We started our organization in July 2019, we rented out a shelter, and started the process of forming the organization. However, due to COVID and other complications, it took quite a lot of time to register our organization in Sri Lanka, so we went ahead and registered our organization in Germany as an international organization by the end of 2020. We are currently processing the registration process of the organization in Sri Lanka”, she added. Doyel said, “We have helped about 600 dogs so far and helped with PVT cases and other things.

We have and continue to work with other like-minded organizations such as ‘Lucus for Dogs’ to help further our cause. We will pick them up for treatment and then put them back in their territory. We support the adoption of animals but the local adaption rate is very low.”


When asked about what they have planned for 2023, Doyel said there is a clinic planned for July or August, with a focus on the areas of Diyathalawa, Haputhale and Bandarawela.

Doyel said that while she takes great pleasure in what she does it is her mission to motivate local communities to work towards the welfare of animals. “We have a network of veterinarians we work with in the Ella and Diyathalawa regions and I can see that there are people who have really passionate about this line of work and that they really care. I want to make sure that I do my best to motivate them and do my best for the benefit of the dog population in Sri Lanka.”

The shelter is open to the public from 8 am to 5 pm and those interested can request preorganized hikes with dogs, organized by ‘Dogs of Ella’. Get in touch with Doyel and her team through Instagram: dogs_of_ella and Facebook: DogsOfElla