A round table was held in the city parliament on “Catching and conserving stray animals in Lipetsk: experience, problems and ways to solve them”.
The debate was attended by MPs, representatives of relevant departments of the mayor’s office, Rospotrebnadzor, veterinary departments, social activists and organizers of private animal shelters.
– At the meeting of the Municipal Council in February this issue was raised out of the agenda – for stray animals. I must say that the situation is getting worse. More and more incidents of attacks on the inhabitants of the city. Every week there are loud cases. In the village of Podgorno, dogs bit the face of a five-year-old boy. What can the municipality do? Grab them, place them in a special detention center, cure, sterilize them, chips and leave them behind at the point of removal. We spend more than 14,000 rubles per dog, more than the minimum pension and some social benefits for keeping in a shelter. More and more animals, the maintenance budget is growing, the problem is not solved. But the larger the population, the greater the aggression. “Today we gathered a round table to prepare initiatives for the Regional Council and further for the State Duma”, opened the event the President of the Municipal Council Alexander Afanasiev.
Dmitry Pogorelov, chairman of the City Council’s Committee on Social Affairs, Health and Ecology, cited threatening statistics in his speech: “In 2021, 722 children were bitten by dogs in Lipetsk alone, 421 of them were bitten by stray dogs. That is, dogs attack one or two children a day. “And the number of attacks on adults is three times higher.” The MP reminded that stray animals can transmit rabies and plague and that in Russia, in general, about 40 people die from dog attacks every year.
Dmitry Smolyanov, Deputy Head of the Department of Epidemiological Surveillance for the Lipetsk Region, said that our region is in second place in the Russian Federation in terms of rabies. Challenging factors are the reduction in red foxes’ shot and the reduction in wildlife vaccination. In 2021, 11 cases of rabies were recorded in the area, five of them in Lipetsk.
By 2020, when the federal Animal Welfare Act came into force, most of the captured animals were euthanized in a humane way. At present, they are released after sterilization and vaccination back to their habitat. Already 6,000 people have undergone such a procedure (OSVV). For the arrest, a drug is used, the price of which is 2000 rubles. In protecting animal rights, we sometimes forget about human rights. According to our observations, a perfectly adequate animal in a nature sanctuary often becomes aggressive. Yes, and the release of an animal from the shelter in nature, where it has nothing to eat, is also inhumane, – said the head of the regional veterinary department Natalya Semina.
Stray animals appear in Lipetsk because many of them are thrown away by their owners. Puppies are left at the entrances, in gardening clubs, in industrial facilities. Dogs born on the street are packed in herds and live an average of 7-8 years.
– A dog with a chip in his ear snatched my bag on Internatsionalnaya Street. My colleague Svetlana Tyunina, the deputy principal of the 3rd Lyceum, said that a herd of dogs scares children on the way to school. In my opinion, the trapping and release program will work only in conjunction with the law on the responsibility of people who throw animals on the street, – said Vera Urivaeva, MP.
This opinion was supported by many participants in the round table, adding that it is necessary to punish legal entities as well. In the territory of industrial facilities, warehouses, bases, there has long been an irresponsible practice of feeding animals, without paying attention to reproduction, vaccination, without controlling their behavior towards humans.
Today in the Lipetsk region there are two animal shelters in the Terbunsky and Lipetsk regions, which fulfill municipal contracts. Implement the Catch-Sterilize-Vaccinate-Return (CER) program. Their resource is about 2000 people. The rest of the shelters are private and maintained by their owners, donations from sponsors and volunteers.
“Since 2015, out of the 1,600 dogs that have fallen into our body, 1,300 have been transferred to families. The approach of the budget-funded contractors is different – let the dog get back on the road, – said Ekaterina Bilbao, head of the Rescue Territory. He criticized the way in which the animal trapping program is carried out in Lipetsk.
According to the animal rights activist, it is impossible to turn OSVV into a commercial project, its implementation needs control.
Does everyone agree that there should be no stray dogs on the street? From the shelters, they either have to go to new owners or undergo euthanasia. I do not like that the current federal law puts the interests of animals and the interests of humans second. “If there are many appeals from the municipalities, then the State Duma will amend the law,” said MP Evdokia Bychkova.
At the end of the discussion, the participants of the round table decided to form a working group that will study all the proposals. They will then be sent as a legislative initiative to the regional parliament and the State Duma. A bill is now being drafted to tighten responsibility for animal welfare.