The troublesome problem
of Yerevan street dogs may be about to come to
a more civilized conclusion than the current method
new plan calls for dogs to be netted instead
of shot in the street.
In the absence of a better --
previously unaffordable – animal control
policy, nuisance dogs are simply shot by hunters
who go out late at night to claim a 70-cents bounty
on each dog they shoot dead. It is a barbaric
method that also creates disruption, disturbing
residents’ sleep with the sound of gunfire
and yelping dogs.
Hired by Yerevan municipality,
dog bounty hunters kill their prey, cut off the
tails as evidence of their success, then haul
the carcasses away for burial in bunkers outside
the city center.
But Vazgen Ghazaryan, deputy
head of the Trade and Services Department of the
municipality says a more humane, or at least more
civilized, solution is at hand.
“During the coming
month we’ll try to hunt for street dogs
with nets,” Ghazaryan says, “meaning
that there will be no more gunshots and the night
sleep of people will not be disturbed. Afterwards
the dogs will be killed near the bunkers and buried
Ghazaryan accepts that this
is not the best option but says that for many
years because of the lack of funds at the Municipality
they had no other choice.
Eventually, a special shelter
will be built to hold the strays, until they are
either placed for some useful purpose, or exterminated.
“As a result of
consultations and agreements we will finally have
an opportunity to refuse the option of killing
animals,” says Ghazaryan. “The project
will be carried out through funds provided by
Eurasia Foundation and will completely change
the nature of this work.”
Ghazaryan says Eurasia has allotted
$325,000 to Yerevan to build the animal shelter.
Ghazaryan says that once the
shelter is in operation, dogs that are old or
sick will be “put to sleep”. But the
main point of the shelter, he says, will be to
neuter or spay the dogs, which should quickly
reduce the current problem.
“According to statistics
in the capital there are about 8 to 10 thousand
street dogs which reproduce daily and create numerous
problems both from security and epidemic aspects,”
says Ghazaryan. “However, the experience
of other countries shows, using this option within
three to five years, it will become possible to
prevent the reproducing as much as possible and
to avoid complications.”
The plan also calls for dogs
to be vaccinated and implanted with identification
chips. And those that might be trained for service
will be placed with border guards or other defense
and public safety departments.
“At present, there
are discussions on taking a territory in a convenient
place, but a suitable option hasn’t been
found yet and there’s no final agreement,”
says Ghazaryan. “After the territory issue
is solved in a short period of time we’ll
start the works for the new activity and will
live with a clear conscience.”