A dog that was likely looked upon by Jesus, Moses and many other biblical characters is now the center of a land, religion and animal rights dispute in Israel, The Washington Post
The Canaan dog, which is a breed officially recognized by the American Kennel Club
and Federation Cynologique Internationale, the international canine federation, dates back to the 1st century B.C., as evidenced by ancient rock carvings and stories in the Bible. But now, many Israelis see the native breed as a pest, since so many are strays and feed on garbage in the streets.
A number of Canaan dogs were destroyed in rabies eradication programs in the country in recent decades, and now just a few hundred live independently in the Negev desert, the news outlet reports. One organization, Sh'ar Hagai Kennels, is breeding the desert dogs and shipping their puppies around the world to preserve the breed.
The Israeli Land Authority is arguing that the kennel is illegally occupying land and has evicted Sha'ar Hagai's manager, Myrna Shiboleth, from the area, essentially shutting down the operation because she has nowhere else from which to operate the kennel. A number of petitions have sprung up internationally to protect the "holy dog," the news outlet reports.