Today there has been some good news arriving from Serbia.
Campaigners have been waiting since 2002 for a verdict, but now, the Constitutional Court of Serbia has officially demanded that there must be a Public Competition – Tendering for the catching of stray dogs and cats in Subotica city.
Subotica city is finally starting to / having to act in agreement with the court, by allowing public competition for the process of catching strays in the city. Until now, this process has been very much a closed shop type set up, with shinter (dogcatcher) firms having a stranglehold on the awarding of stray animal contracts. Every year, shinter firms would effectively be awarded millions of dinars to undertake the rounding up, catching and killing of all stray dogs and cats in the city. There was never any real plan or progress towards a policy of reducing stray animal numbers through a long term sterilisation programme. In effect, a sterilisation programme to reduce stray animal numbers over a period of time was not to the benefit of these organisations. Their approach to the stray numbers was one of kill, kill, kill.
Effectively the shinter management policy was one of – strays could continue to reproduce on the streets; shinter teams could be paid annually from the public purse to continually round them up and kill all the animals, and as a result the authorities could continue to inform a largely uneducated public (on this issue) that they are doing everything in their power to try and control stray animal populations. It all looked good for those involved and was financially very beneficial. Almost a never ending way of being financially supported to solve an issue, but an issue which never diminishes no matter how much money is thrown at it.
But as we, the animal welfare lobby have always argued, stray animal numbers can never be reduced unless a long term sterilisation programme is introduced somewhere into a system which aims to eventually eliminate or at least very drastically reduce stray animals from the streets. With a sterilisation programme, stray numbers will gradually reduce over a period of time – ie. a sterilised (stray) animal cannot reproduce and thus continue to constantly add further to the large numbers of strays in cities.
As a result of this new public competition / tendering scheme, it is hoped that the current large costs involved in stray animal ‘control’, which could be argued does not really work in controlling numbers and always results in large numbers of animal deaths, can now be diverted into a sterilisation programme aimed at long term animal numbers reduction – a positive programme for the future and one which will especially be of benefit to the animals; as the programme will definitely be a ‘no kill’ strategy.
And so now, animal welfare campaigners in Subotica city can commence work to produce a proposal programme of stray animal control for the city using ‘no kill’; a programme which will be much more financially beneficial to the authorities and tax paying public of the city. Whilst not wanting to provide detail of their proposal, as this site is frequently visited by governments and authorities who may learn from the proposals when compiling their own bid, animal welfare campaigners will at last be given the opportunity to present a programme / plan for stray animal control which will include:
- Sterilisation of animals taken in from the streets to ensure that these animals cannot contribute further offspring to the numbers which exist at present
- Vaccination of same animals to ensure both animal and public safety from infectious disease
- Microchipping of each animal; including owned (but roaming) pet animals, to compile a database to allow identification of animal owner should it be collected from the street
- If animals are ever returned to the streets, then identification tags (such as a small high visibility ear tag) to be fitted to every animal that has been sterilised. This to provide immediate identification to catchers that the animal in question has previously been caught, sterilised, vaccinated and microchipped and that it is NOT necessary to capture this animal again
- Public education schemes to inform of the benefits of long term sterilisation programmes, especially where expenditure from the public purse is involved
- Production of very strong and durable shelters for (captured street) animals who once sterilised will be kept in facilities such as the ‘Delta’ shelters used in Brcko district, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Delta shelters are made of straw bales, cement and wood, which although cheap to produce, especially using schemes involving authority prisoners for manpower / labour, can provide strong, warm and weather protective shelters for the animals that reside within them.
Photos – Low Cost but Very Effective – ‘Delta’ shelters as used in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Pictures with thanks to ‘ARKA’ animal welfare.
It is envisaged and hoped that the proposal presented by animal welfare campaigners in Subotica city will provide a long term solution and a very forward looking scheme which will over time, ensure that the numbers of stray animals in the city are reduced.
As we have always stated, the continual killing of stray animals does nothing to reduce stray animal numbers. Killing strays in any location in any part of the country simply creates a void in that specific region which within a matter of days or a few weeks maximum, then allows stray animals from other outlying areas to venture into the location, which always amplifies the risk of diseases being spread and always guarantees that within a short time, the region in question gets provided with a new, fresh crop of fertile, unsterilised animals arriving, to search for possibly more food which they always seek, to continue to procreate and as a result further contribute to the never diminishing pyramid of stray animals in that particular area / region.
The Results of NOT Sterilising Stray and Pet (Owned) Animals – there IS NO RESULT, only a constant supply of animals to fill any void left by those which have been killed by authorities.
Killing strays does not reduce stray animal numbers; a programme of sterilisation and vaccination ensures that animal numbers reduce over time and disease risk is minimised.
Subotica campaigners who produce this proposal for an effective, no kill stray animal numbers reduction programme, are then in a position to be able to share their data with other campaigners throughout the nation; making every one of the 170 communities be able to present a no kill sterilisation programme to their local authority through the public competition process.
The public education programme must be geared to the education of all citizens about the positive aspects of animal sterilisation, including their own pets, the necessity for responsible pet ownership, and using the microchip database which is proposed (and undertaken during sterilisation), a scheme which could allow for fining irresponsible owners who let their animals wander the streets. Small fines by this system could be fed back into further funding of schemes and databases used for such purposes.
Currently, campaigners are initially looking at Subotica as the first of (hopefully) many cities throughout Serbia in which they can now propose stray animal control programmes to regional authorities. It does not matter which city is first, it is only important to address the management of stray animal numbers using a scheme which will be financially beneficial in the long term, whilst also of benefit to citizens throughout the country.
The government and authorities to date have not grasped effective management and control of stray animal numbers throughout Serbia. It is now hoped that through the public competition process the animal welfare movement can show the government a scheme which they, the government, should have accepted and instigated many, many years ago.
That is a NO KILL programme of sterilisation, vaccination, microchipping and identification for the stray animals of Serbia.
Maybe now a change on the horizon …
for the benefit of all stray animals in Serbia.