By: Praveen Kumar
February 15 2023
A November 2022 video of people in Turkey flocking to rescue animals from a shelter where they were mistreated has been linked to the earthquakes.
A major earthquake hit Turkey and Syria on February 6, 2023. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, it was a 7.8 magnitude quake with a depth of 18 kilometers (11 miles). The following days saw multiple aftershocks, and thousands of buildings collapsed across both regions. Originating in Turkey's southeastern province of Kahramanmaras, the quake was felt in Damascus, Beirut, and as far away as Cairo. Reuters reported that the death toll in the country rose to 31,974 on February 14. Along with photos and videos of the earthquake and its effects, videos of animal rescue from Turkey have gone viral.
One 21-second video shared on Facebook shows a bewildered cat held up by a woman in a light blue jacket in a crowd of people, while another cat can be seen being held by a woman in the background. The audio overlaid on the clip features a man chanting a prayer in Turkish. The video caption says that the video shows a cat that was found alive under the rubble after the Turkey earthquake. However, the video is from 2022 and has no relation to the recent earthquakes in Turkey.
On searching the keyframes of the viral footage, we found that it was part of a longer video that began circulating online in November 2022. It led us to Turkish news articles with the extended video and screengrabs published on November 25, 2022. According to reports by OdaTV and GazeteMAG, images of an officer from the Konya Metropolitan Municipality Stray Animal Care and Rehabilitation Center allegedly beating dogs to death with a shovel had gone viral. According to the report, images also emerged of the center mistreating cats by putting them in bags. Consequently, animal lovers flocked to the rehabilitation center to rescue the animals.
Turkish journalist Ayşegül Acar tweeted about the rescue incident with a longer video on the same day. She described the scene as people blocking the vehicle of the animal shelter, which contained tightly sealed bags full of cats. In the 45-second-long video, the shelter's signage in Turkish can be seen along with other cats and dogs held by people in the large crowd. Many can be seen recording the incident on their phones, and the original audio features only the crowd's chatter.
Although this video is from Turkey, it was not filmed during or after the February 2023 earthquake. It is from November 25, showing locals rescuing animals from an animal shelter where they were being mistreated. Therefore, we have marked this claim as false.