Activist Havva Rustamli, 27, is a dedicated defender of animal rights in Azerbaijan. A graphic designer by profession, Havva and her sister have single-handedly saved the lives of hundreds of abandoned, starving and maimed animals in Azerbaijan’s eastern Khachmaz province.
For the past three years, Havva and her sister have been protecting stray dogs. Due to their work, approximately 400 dogs were sterilized in the province. But their fight is not an easy one. While a growing number of people have started to speak up against the abuse of animals, some members of the community have tried to stop the sisters from sheltering dogs.
There have been several attempts to poison the animals they shelter, and at one point the sisters were forced to relocate to an old farm. They currently have about 100 dogs at the shelter and continue to speak out for animal rights, using social media and other platforms.