Stray dogs in Chisinau municipality: isolation, sterilization or euthanasia?

Over 90 persons monthly asked for an ambulance in the municipality of Chisinau during the first three months of the year because they were bitten by stray dogs, a slight increase from about 80 cases in January-March last year. More than half of these cases are accompanied by hemorrhage that is yet controllable. There are also cases when the wound caused by animal bite is deep. The 112 Service was recently notified of cases when children were attacked by dogs on the way to school and the bite wounds they received were deep and were bleeding, said Ana Carpovich, PR specialist of the 112 National Emergency Service. 

Problem of stray dogs in Chisinau can be solved in three-five years

Karl Luganov, acting head of the Animal Protection Unit of the General Public Amenities Division, said the problem of stray dogs can be solved in three-five years, but there are factors that negatively influence the problem. “In September 2019, there were adopted regulations that envision programs to sterilize, register and microchip animals without an owner and to supervise captured animals so as to ensure more transparent activity. During two years, the cleanup company “Autosalubritate” has sabotaged these regulations and hasn’t implemented them. In 2020 and 2021, the National Food Safety Agency carried out two inspections at the Necropolis in Chisinau that is managed by “Autosalubritate”. In both of the cases, the Agency identified 19 violations regarding the conditions of keeping animals at the Necropolis in accordance with the sanitary-veterinary norms. Only last year alone, 500 dogs disappeared from the Necropolis or died there. This problem hasn’t been yet solved. A report by the Financial Inspectorate also points to multiple violations. For example, over 3.5 million lei represents overruns of costs incurred because the given regulations weren’t obeyed,” stated Karl Luganov. 

The Animal Protection Unit the last two years proposed a number of projects referring to stray dogs. Over 1,500 dogs without an owner from different districts of Chisinau are to be sterilized by July. But the insufficiency of staff does not enable to efficiency solve the problems. “The Unit during a year and a half had only two employees. The municipal councilors now voted the new organogram and six persons will work at the Unit. But six employees are also insufficient to solve the problem of stray dogs. We need a subdivision that would deal with animals without an owner, another subdivision for pets, a unit for animal adoption, a unit for animal registration and a substitution that would focus on cases of cruelty to animals,” related Karl Luganov.

To control the population of stray animals, sterilization projects need to be implemented in the suburban settlements of Chisinau too as the aggressive dogs identified there cannot be taken to “Autosalubritate” because the company’s administration does not want to sign a new contract for the purpose, by which greater transparency is ensured in the management of funds and keeping of animals. “Currently, the animals without an owner can be euthanized only in exceptional cases, if the animal has rabies, for example. I doubt that they will euthanize animals at the Necropolis. The public funds that will be allocated for the purpose will be used rather for other purposes as the activities at the Necropolis are not transparent,” said Karl Luganov.

Behavior towards animals should be humane and responsible

He noted that when a person is bitten by a stray dog on the street, it is not clear who is to blame: the man who didn’t know how to defend himself or the animal who attacked? The opinions are differing. Sometimes the dog sleeps and the man does not see this. Or a female dog can have young and is aggressive. In both of the cases, the animals protect themselves. Sterilization decreases the number of situations when animals behave aggressively. If a female dog is neutered, the male dogs stop fighting between them for it.

The dogs that attack humans are captured and supervised to exclude cases of rabies. “In the recent past, we didn’t have aggressive dogs due to rabies. The dogs become aggressive if the people treat them brutally and they need to defend themselves. I saw several cases when parents told children that the cat or dog on the street poses threats and they should throw stones at the animals. In this case, the child can be bitten and the parents and children who throw something at the animals are to blame as they provoke the animal to be aggressive. The behavior towards animals should be humane and responsible,” said Karl Luganov.

Better at Necropolis than on the street

Roman Trahtman, head of the Capture Section of “Autosalubritate” denied the claimed violations. “Evidently, given that a large number of dogs are kept at the Necropolis, inconveniences appear for the dogs and for the people who work with the animals there, but the animals need to be held there as the stray dogs on the streets of the capital city pose a risk to the citizens as they can bite or scare the people. Something like this does not exist in civilized states and should not exist in Chisinau either. As there are over 10,000 stray dogs in the capital city, we face difficulties in accommodating these dogs at the Necropolis where there are all the conditions for keeping animals. Any state institution, like the Necropolis in Chisinau, faces problems related to financing and staff. No one says that the Necropolis is a heaven for stray dogs, but these need to be taken there so as to ensure the safety of citizens,” stated Roman Trahtman.

He said the National Food Safety Agency during three years transmitted over 100 applications to capture and keep dogs and now accuses the Necropolis of violations. The Agency issued a work license to the Necropolis in 2019 and a license for dog sterilization programs in 2020 and they didn’t find violations then.

Roman Trahtman said the employees of the Animal Protection Unit ignore the complaints submitted by people who are attacked by stray dogs. Statistics show 6-8 persons are daily attacked by stray dogs in Chisinau and the victims include children. The Unit’s employees should take measures to prevent such cases, but they rather defend the rights of animals. The stray dogs should be found an owner or should be kept in special places where they do not pose threats to humans and are safe themselves.

As to the euthanizing of animals, Roman Trahtman noted this is a measure used in all the states, but it needs to be proposed for public debates before being adopted.

As long as work is done chaotically, results will not be achieved

Ana Revenco, executive director of the Public Association “Solidary Parents”, said that even if the management of stray dogs in Chisinau improved the past 20 years, there are yet many flaws. “The state rather wastes the money intended for capturing dogs. Not much is done to solve the problem and there is chaos. The authorities work completely inefficiently here. We know what problems are faced at the Necropolis and how the dogs are kept there. Mostly aggressive dogs who pose a danger, including to children, should be held there. The solution is for the authorities to adopt a well-thought-out program with a clear assessment of the situation and clear indictors. Something like this is not done. As long as the work is done chaotically, results will not be achieved, regrettably,” said Ana Revenco, noting she is against the euthanasia of animals, but the aggressive animals should be isolated at the Necropolis or in animal shelters.

Daniela Moraru, IPN

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