Center for Animal Welfare Legal Protection    
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Autonomous non-profit organization
Center for Animal Welfare Legal Protection

Survey of homeless cats situation in Moscow

In the photo: cats killed by a horde of stray dogs living at 39-45, Miklukho-Maklaya St. On the left: on August 11, 2005, this agonizing male cat was brought to us by the children, the cats lungs were bitten through and his ribs were broken. On the right: on August 14, 2005, that same dog of the same horde was carrying a kitten in her teeth at the entrance to the Belyaevo Metro Station, the photo was taken on the lawn near the metro station.

Survey of homeless cats situation in Moscow

Show the results of survey

      The survey was carried out in June, 2005. Survey method telephone poll. The purpose of the poll was to find out the Moscow homeless cats situation. In all, interviewed were 372 persons who act as guardians of cats, take care of and keep and eye on homeless cats. The telephone database of the interviewed persons was made available by the Autonomous Non-profit Organization Charitable society for the Guardianship of Homeless Animals
      Geographically, the survey encompassed virtually all districts of the Moscow Residential area. The survey has also made it possible to establish the dynamics of the Moscow homeless cats situation change, because there were three periods during which the guardians had been observing homeless cats: the last two years (2003-2005), 2000-2003. and 1995-2000, in sum, embracing a 10-year interval of observations.
      It follows from the survey that an average number of homeless cats under observation per respondent was around 20.
      One of the main tasks of the survey was to find out major factors responsible for the restriction and regulation of street cat population in Moscow.

Principal conclusion

      The survey indicated that the main factor underlying the homeless cat population control has, for the last 10 years, been extermination of the cats by stray dogs. This factor was named by more than 50% of those surveyed. (Nearly all other interviewed pointed out that stray dogs attacking cats was one of the main reasons for their death and rated that reason as number 2 or number 3). It transpires from the survey that dogs attack cats before the very eyes of citizens, whereas two thirds (63% ) of the interviewed witnessed pursuits and attacks of cats by stray dogs at least once a month, and nearly one third of the respondents (28.5%) were observing such cases once a week and even more often.

Other conclusions

      Other causes of the death of homeless cats given by the respondents included killings by humans and attacks by pets (these factors shared the 2nd priority rating), followed, after a long gap, by sealing the basements and accidents.
      The numbers of homeless cats have been constant for the last decade as the dying animals are superseded by those born in the street and by pets thrown out by their owners. Due to this factor, the homeless cat population is restored nearly by half over a 2-year period.
      The ratio of cats born in the street and thrown out pets is 3:2.
      The average time of survival of a street cat (regardless of the age at which the cat finds itself in the street) is around 1 year.
      75% of kittens born in the street by homeless cats and remaining to live in the street die, no reaching puberty. Of these, approximately 60% do not live to the age of 2 months, because they are unable even to leave their shelters (basements), where homeless cats beget them.

Main socially-significant conclusions of the survey

      (1) It follows from the survey that a joint habitation of homeless cats and stray dogs on the territory of Moscow, legitimized by Moscow Government Decrees (No 403-RZP of 19.07.2001 and No 819-PP of 01.10.2002) within the framework of the neutering program of homeless animals, is incompatible with the goals of curbing the numbers of homeless animals through as spelled out in the said Decrees. In particular, Decree 403-RZP reads: "1.5 Neglected and stray animals are an integral part of urban ecological environment and are under the protection of Moscow public authorities; 1.6 The fundamental principle of handling animals is the attitude to them as sensitive creatures, capable of feeling fear and pain; 1.7 Control of the population of neglected and stray animals (cats and dogs) should take into account biological regularities and socio-moral aspects, and should meet the requirements of humaneness as well as should be abreast of up-to-date technologies that rule out the murder and cruel treatment of animals; 1.8 The main recognized method of controlling the population of neglected and stray animals is castration (sterilization) of female individuals, with subsequent release in their former habitat;".
      However, results of the survey indicate that the state of homeless cats in Moscow today fails to meet "the requirements of humaneness and of up-to-date technologies that rule out the murder and cruel treatment of animals", homeless cats are not under the protection of Moscow public authorities, at all, and to homeless cats sterilization is not "the main method of population control". We can only add that pursuant to the document titled Codes and Regulations of Available Housing Maintenance, approved by Decree of USSR Gosstroy No 170 of 27.09.2003, homeless cats (domestic animals of African origin, to whom normal air temperature required for habitation based on veterinary standards should not be below +15?C) may not stay in the basements - the only available shelters from cold and dogs in the city.
      Hence, the survey findings are a convincing proof that the program of neutering homeless animals carried out in Moscow, legitimizing free habitation in the city of large numbers of stray dogs, constitutes the cause of mass extermination of other domestic animals just as important to man. Therefore, the program in question fails to answer its purpose in respect of those animals (dogs and cats) for which it is designed: () basically, it is not humane towards animals, and (b) the program fails to reduce animal population through neutering.
      (2) Cats are being exterminated by dogs before the very eyes of our citizens, which runs afoul of human morals, violates citizens rights to health protection and auspicious environment as stipulated by the Constitution and federal legislation. Besides, this is the cause of cruel treatment of stray dogs as the citizens tend to protect cats that are torn to pieces by stray dogs, and are trying to get rid of the dogs.
      Therefore, an absolutely different, better conceived program in respect of homeless animals is required.

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