Center for Animal Welfare Legal Protection    
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An optimum strategic program to solve the problem of homeless animals in Russia:

A three-level model of work to solve the problem of homeless animals in Russia

Author : Evgeny A. Ilyinsky

(Proposed for all animal-protection, nature-conservation and environmental organizations and movements in Russia as a strategic long-term program to solve the problem of homeless animals in Russia)

       Stage 1. Work at the level of minimization of mass appearance of unclaimed cats and dogs:
      Includes development and implementation of economic macro-mechanisms for the reduction of the numbers of unclaimed (homeless) cats and dogs.
(The implementation of this stage is presented below after the three-level model.)

       Stage II. Work at the level of minimization of interspecies destruction of animals:
      Includes the following directions:
      ) minimization of the destruction of wild animals by domestic animals (cats and dogs);
      b) minimization of inter-species destruction of homeless animals (feral, neglected) destruction of homeless cats by homeless dogs;
      As a result: development and adoption of economic and legal mechanisms for the division of the fauna structure into domestic animals (cats and dogs) and wild animals making up the natural landscape ecosystem. Those adopted economic and legal mechanisms should entail inadmissibility of constant free-ranging of:
      ) subpopulations of homeless (feral, neglected) dogs and cats in forest-park zones and complexes, protected areas;
      ) subpopulations of homeless (feral, neglected) dogs at any public places;

       Stage III. Work at the level of legal protection of an individual wild and domestic (including homeless, feral or neglected) animals:
      Includes development and adoption of legislation on the protection of animals from cruel treatment.

      Justification of the division of objectives into stages.
      In big cities it is the man who is to manage the fauna structure, and the "jungle law" or "natural selection" should not dominate. Hence, it is the task of humans to divide the general fauna into "domestic" and the fauna of the "natural landscape ecosystem".
      ) In case the man allows mixing up of the above two fauna types, and domestic species (particularly, dogs) become incorporated in the distribution range of originally wild animals, the biodiversity of the original landscape natural ecosystem is invariably harmed.
      ) If humans are to allow the joint dwelling of subpopulations of homeless dogs and cats, they virtually permit extermination of cats by dogs to transform cruel treatment into interspecies destruction.
      It follows that it is not until the economic and legal mechanisms of fauna division as based on the principles of the conservation of biodiversity and ecological equilibrium are introduced and implemented to prevent mass interspecies extermination of joint dwelling of subpopulation flows of competing species (of particular significance to humans as cats and dogs), that the introduction and successful implementation of the mechanisms for protection of individual animals from cruel treatment can be attained.
      However, in some cities of Russia, for instance, in Moscow, under the program of neutering of homeless dogs to be returned to their former habitats, humans have created conditions for the dominance of homeless dogs both in the area of nature complexes, forest-park zones and protected areas in all other areas within the city boundary.
      The adverse consequences of the failure to introduce programs for neutering homeless dogs to be returned in the streets are recorded not only in Moscow, but also in other cities of Russia, and also in other countries (although such programs are very rare abroad and are only practiced in underdeveloped countries). And it is not by accident or not due to sabotage of those programs or their poor implementation but rather is the consequence of some basic inherent defects that doom those programs for failure throughout the world.

      Implementation of Stage I: At Stage I, national macro-policy with the regulatory economic link for reproduction and consumption (demand and supply) for domestic animals is to be stated and developed.

      Objective I: Introduction of differentiated taxation for owners of dogs and cats whereby the respective tax on the keeping of a neutered animal would be considerably reduced. In case the owner of a domestic animal is engaged in pedigree breeding, in addition to the tax on a non-neutered animal to be paid, he/she shall purchase a license for this activity and pay the profit taxes.

      The above taxation policy would encourage millions of owners of domestic animals to neuter their cats and dogs. This simple pattern has been long in existence and proved successful in the United States and Western Europe.
      Note. According to the results of home and foreign studies, this is exactly overproduction of cats and dogs, i.e., appearance of unclaimed offspring, that is the major source of recruitment of the population of homeless animals, the mortality of the street-born offspring of feral cats and dogs being over 50-80%.The above renders the even the programs of total neutering absolutely inefficient until pet animals are not neutered, and millions of house-born cats and dogs in the absence of demand inevitably die or find themselves in the streets. An illustrative example is found in the growth of the number of homeless dogs in Moscow against the background of the program for their neutering adopted in the absence of the above measures (although over 4, hundred of millions of budget rubles have been allocated for that program with a zero result!).

      Objective 2: Removal of homeless animals from the streets.
      Western countries solve that problem by establishment of state-owned asylums accepting an unlimited number of animals, where all the domestic animals whose presence in the streets in those countries is considered to be illegal shall be accepted. In order to accept an unlimited number of new animals, the animals that have not been demanded for a definite period of time shall be put away. A lower number of death lethal injections in such asylums is attained via increasing lack of cats and dogs available, which renders them in higher demand in the asylums.
      In exchange (or in addition to the establishment of asylums with an unlimited acceptance), the following program can be proposed.
      The funds provided by the taxation of dog and cat owners and those engaged in pedigree breeding, are to be allocated for effective handling of unclaimed cats and dogs (homeless or kept in asylums). In addition to distribution to asylums, it is expedient that such animals should be handed over to citizens on "paid home care" contracts with complete legal liability and monthly paid salary, provided that the terms of the contract are observed (about the principle of "paid home care" in detail see the material which was forwarded in the form of petitions to the Russian President and Premier of the Russian Government on October 4, 2004).
      Note. A "paid care contract" is a normal bilateral contract for rendering paid services for keeping a unclaimed (homeless) cat or dog, which is municipal property, on a full board. The contract may be made between municipal agencies and citizens willing to be engaged in this particular home activity to be remunerated, with intermediation and control of authorized environmental agencies or animal-protection organizations.
      Paid home care has a number of advantages over the asylum system. The major advantages and drawbacks of asylums are: even in case sufficient funds are available to be allocated for the construction of asylums, it is impossible to establish asylums for many thousands of animals in Moscow. The reasons are: lack of "wastelands"; protests of local people on account of environmental violations due to a large number of dogs kept together; the impossibility for the large number of cats kept together to survive due to infections; the construction of asylums is a matter of a number of years, and during that time several generations of animals will have died in the streets, whereas paid care is organized within several days, etc.

      June, 2005

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