- Independent Journalism From Today's Armenia
April 02, 2004

Conscientious Control of Canines: Eurasia to sponsor program for reducing street dogs in Yerevan

The troublesome problem of Yerevan street dogs may be about to come to a more civilized conclusion than the current method for control.
A 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 there.”

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.”

Gimme shelter?

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.

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Two Years Minus

Today (April 2) was marked as the two-year anniversary of television station A1-Plus being removed from the airwaves in Armenia. The oppositional station has been denied a license despite repeated bids, and is seen by many as evidence of government suppression. It has continued its news service at



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