There is around a million stray dogs in Russia. They are feral gregarious animals, descendants of domestic pedigreed dogs that became homeless during the first half of the 1990s, when something in the state trapping services went wrong.
Over the last 10 years, stray dogs have torn to pieces 400 Russian citizens. Yet these are only facts that leaked to mass media by chance. Nobody knows how many people actually died. No All-Russia reports on dogs killing humans are available.
In Moscow, dogs kill at least 100 homeless cats every day, while in the last 10 years they have torn to pieces half a million cats in Moscow. Dogs do not eat cats, but hunt them to satisfy their hunting or play instincts. Sometimes, a cat runs away from the dogs but they manage to bite off its foot, for example, which results in a cat dying in long torments. The dogs often attack at night noiselessly; therefore some people regard the discovered killed cats as victims of sadists.
There are large parks in Moscow, where dogs have destroyed virtually all wild fauna (deer, roedeers, hares, hedge-hogs). This is how it's done: several dogs seize a victim animal and start giving it a bad time, chew and let go, pull apart, pull from chap to chap, strip the skin. This done, the tortured animal does not always die immediately, as the dogs often drop the poor thing still alive.
The cats are tender animals and are absolutely unadapted to living outdoors without their master. Cats die in numbers not only because of the dogs, but also due to stress and low immunity to diseases.
In Moscow alone, at least 60 000 dogs a year die mainly due to being destroyed by the local population employing cruel methods surreptitiously.
There are no rescue services to attend to homeless (and, indeed, wild) animals in this country. It is only enthusiasts who rescue animals and arrange medical treatment of them at commercial exorbitant rates.
Virtually in every (!) dwelling house there are flats crammed to capacity with dozens of pet animals picked up in the street, especially cats. The owners of such flats are real zoo slaves. They spend everything on their pets, themselves living on bread and water. Nobody helps those people, their neighbors treat them with contempt; they do not live, but suffer torments being in constant stress and fear of getting infected, with rabies, among other things.
All this becomes possible because of the so-called "humane" (!!!!) programs of sterilizing (neutering) homeless animals, with subsequent return of the animals back in the streets after sterilization. The state allocated huge amounts of budget money to finance these programs. The money has been plundered.
In 2010, when there broke out a rabies epidemic in many regions, the chief public health physician banned the destruction of stray dogs even in the woods.
Things came to such a pitch that in November of 2011, after yet another person was maimed and killed by the dogs in Saratov Region, local authorities declared they would not be trapping dogs for fear of being penalized. At present, sterilization in some cities gives way to protracted keeping of feral dogs in shelters that will never be able to accommodate even 25% of all animals because the trapping and keeping in shelters of all dogs for a year would cost Russia no less than USD 2 billion. (There are many homeless people in Russia, but no shelters for them are available!) Animals that remain in the street will keep breeding, and their population will be restored immediately. Thus, by building shelters, the state wastes money.
Time and again, we petitioned the government of Russia with open letters unveiling monstrous brutality of "humane programs". We published a scientific paper, proving the need for using euthanasia of stray animals as a matter of last resort. For 10 years we have not received a single motivated reply from anybody.
In the meantime, the RF State Duma is about to pass a law on stray dog neutering on the scale of entire Russia. The expert advisory board drafting the law is made up of extremists, ideological followers of the zoo-terrorist organization "Animal Liberation Front", banned in the United States and in Western Europe.
There is no organization to apply to in this country: we have seen it for ourselves that the state of Russia exists no longer. We are appealing to the whole world. People, please, do petition the governments of your countries, let them influence our leaders and request them to stop flouting the animals and humans.
Center for Animal Welfare Legal Protection, Moscow, Russia.
The problem of homeless animals is a purely economic problem of overproduction of domestic animals: cats and dogs. However, the authorities are reluctant to introduce legislative and economic measures to curb the breeding of cats and dogs by their owners, and this is conducive to streets being flooded with animals at an increasing rate. The unthinkable sufferings of unclaimed animals, especially of the most defenseless and weakest of them are not a forcible argument for the Russian Government to take action towards settling this problem. Because this problem is regarded, as a matter of tradition, unimportant, smatterers of all descriptions, crooks and even swindlers are allowed to handle it. It is not without the assistance of such people that a budget-financed program to neuter a small percentage of stray dogs has been introduced in Moscow since 2001, envisaging the return of the animals in the city streets after sterilization. Since then, euthanasia of unclaimed animals has been banned in this country, yet there are no animal shelters to accommodate the animals. As a result of this, there are no less than 100,000 stray dogs roaming Moscow streets at present.
Aboriginal wild populations of dogs and cats in Russia are non-existent: there are only domestic dogs and cats and their posterity abandoned by their owners and languishing in a disastrous state. Nevertheless, at the end of the 1990s, Moscow authorities paid several hundred million budget rubles for the development of an ignorant pseudo-concept, proving that homeless animals in Moscow, being representatives of the wild fauna are allegedly an integral part of the city ecosystem and have a positive impact on ecology. It followed from this “scientific research” that the state had no duty to take action in order to solve the problem of “useful” homeless animals.
The program of neutering also included a program of duping the citizens, who were made to believe that the sea of homeless animals in the streets was an illustration of true humaneness and civilization that arrived to us from industrialized countries. In reality, however, what is being done to the poor homeless animals in Moscow has no analogs in the rest of the world. In Western Europe and America, the problem of homeless animals is solved through effective mechanisms of economic incentives encouraging the neutering of cats and dogs by their owners. “In the U.S.A., there is an effective animals birth control law. Under that law, dog owners must either neuter their pets or they must buy a special permit allowing the owner to keep the dog “as is” , and a mating permit. The policy of permit issuance is actively promoted by animal welfare organizations as it is viewed as one of the main effective means of preventing the arrival of stray dogs.” (Journ. “Kommersant-Vlast” No 8 dated 28.02.2005).
To begin with, neuter-return programs (named TNR: trapping/neutering/release) encompass cats only, second, such programs are only carries out where cats do not harm the wild fauna; third, only in such corners, where the cats, being free-ranging creatures, are not subject to great danger; fourth, the programs are financed not from the state budget, but from charity funds; fifth, optionally, as an extra facility to the state services that are supposed to remove homeless animals from the streets and accommodate them in animal shelters. Once in a shelter, the animals, thanks to the deficit of cats and dogs attained through breeding control, stand a real chance to acquire an owner. However, if after a certain while this does not happen, the animal is drugged to sleep , because state-owned shelters must receive new animals, which requires spare room at any time. Euthanasia of unclaimed animals is supported by numerous Western animal-welfare organizations, the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA). Preventing euthanasia of domestic animals for which it is impossible to find the owners is denounced as a manifestation of extremism compounding the anguish of animals. The animals are only kept for life in private animal shelters that, naturally, do not have to enlarge admittance.
Heavier fines imposed on the owners for unauthorized arrival of cat and dog posterity and a higher non-sterilized animal tax result in a decline of the overall number of cats and dogs, i.e. to more abandoned animals being claimed, and, consequently, to declining euthanasias in state-owned animal shelters.
As for programs of neutering homeless animals, with subsequent release for free ranging, such programs are carried out with charity funds largely in rural poor areas of developing countries of Asia and South Europe. These programs are essentially oriented to pariah-dogs that for centuries have been free-ranging. Even though the presence of such dogs is natural to the ecosystem of such areas, the dogs are subject to regular shooting off in connection with outbreaks of rabies and attacks of dogs on the people. No such programs are carried out in rich Europeanized residential areas of the said countries. The programs are a matter for great controversy (even for cats).
What is going on now that the program of sterilization is being introduced in Moscow? Hundreds of thousands homeless cats (the sterilization program has not touched upon them) are subject to mass extermination. The cats die because they are deprived of access to the basements that are blocked by the workers of housing and communal services (the basements are walled up, barred). The cats find themselves inside and become doomed to cruel death. The poisoning of homeless animals with poisons, mostly cats, is also very common. Cats generally are much easier to kill than dogs. But real ecocide of cats is when cats are killed by stray dogs. Besides, dogs are allowed to be walked without a lead. Nor are there any restrictions regarding the keeping of aggressive and fighting breeds of dogs: when these attack, cats die in large numbers.
Special bazaars, peddling pets and animals, are crammed with kittens nobody wants (these easily outnumber puppets). The kittens are brought to the bazaars the owners of house non-sterilized cats to get rid of posterity they do not need. There is no demand for these kittens, so the poor things are thrown away by the hundred in the nearest forest or are placed stealthily in residential areas by second-hand dealers. Yet, even those happy kittens that find a buyer by miracle, all the same are doomed to agonizing death: from a disease, because all kittens get infected on the bazaar.
As for kittens born in the street, the death-rate among them reaches 75% (according to official data of the survey on the situation of stray cats in Moscow). They do not live to the age of 3 months. And the number of homeless cats is increasing all the time since kittens keep to be thrown away.
According to official data of nature-conservation organizations, stray dogs exterminated over the last four years a lot of wild animals in numerous Moscow natural complexes. Among those animals there are quite a few species entered in Moscow Red Data Book.
Also, according to official data, nearly 40 humans are attacked by stray dogs in Moscow every day (and roughly as many Muscovites are attacked by owned dogs).
High numbers of stray dogs in the streets trigger protests of citizens who want to protect themselves and their children but are unable to demand that the authorities remove the dogs. These circumstances force the people to resort to cruel treatment of the animals and to get rid of stray dogs on their own, using inhuman means.
Superavailability of homeless animals has led to a situation, where all kinds of illegal industry, using meat and other products from dogs and cats, have emerged.
The conclusion is this: introduction of the sterilization program in Moscow has led to massive disposal (annihilation) of homeless animals.
Our organization has, for the last two years, been petitioning the federal and local authorities with a substantiation of the need to take action in Russia towards curbing the breeding of owned cats and dogs. However, the authorities refuse to realize that sterilization, shooting off, drugging the animals to sleep as well as any other activities aimed at removing homeless animals make no sense when new homeless animals keep being thrown out into the streets non-stop.
What we suggest as a measure to supersede euthanasia of homeless animals is distribution of the funds for keeping such animals by citizens under contracts of paid guardianship, which could be financed from taxation of the owners of commercially acquired domestic animals. We are giving grounds to prove that this is the only method of removing animals from the streets without resorting to drugging to sleep, because it is impossible to set up shelters for hundreds of thousands of animals.
At the moment, Moscow City Duma is passing Moscow Law “On Keeping Domestic Animals in the City of Moscow", which is to legitimize finally the presence of homeless animals in the streets (see the material which was forwarded in the form of petitions to the deputies of Moscow City Duma (31.03.2005.), to Moscow Mayor Mr. Yu.M. Luzhkov (06.04.2005.) ).
One of the deputies proposed that the following amendment should be made: to replace the term “controlling the number of homeless animals” by “reduction of the number of homeless animals”, because the term “controlling” is only applicable to wildlife, whereas domestic animals are in a state of distress, and the state should see to it that the number of such miserable animals declines. On hearing this, the law editor – Department of Housing and Communal Services (WG Chief – Tatiana Pavlova) snapped: “No, reduction of the number of such animals is undesirable. For example, cats constitute a biological method of deratization, and a decline of their number results in a surge of rat and mouse populations.” It looks like the authorities are more concerned about saving on clearing garbage and rat control chemicals rather than about the plight and sufferings of animals.
Editor of site www.AnimalsProtectionTribune.ru