Stray Animals in Türkiye: Trouble or Neglect?
The stray animals' issue is a hot topic in Türkiye lately. Cats and dogs, which have been residents of the streets since Ottoman period, have become a problem for Türkiye, especially in the last six months. This situation, which brought animal lovers and animal enemies face to face, has now reached very serious dimensions, and because of this issue, people are murdering each other and mass murder proposals put forward for stray animals.
A phrase we hear a lot from animal enemies is: "In Europe, the government put down the animals and the problem of stray animals was prevented."
So is this true? Are stray animals deliberately killed in Europe?
How Europe Solved The Stray Animal Problem?
Germany, France, and the Netherlands are the countries with the strictest animal rules. Local governments are responsible for the general condition of animals and there are very strict regulations even for owned animals. In the Netherlands, local governments have been implementing animal rights laws since the 1800s. In the 1960s, a sterilization campaign was launched across the country and stray animals were sterilized to prevent their reproduction. Municipalities encouraged the public to adopt stray animals and shelters were established for stray dogs. These hospices had everything for the animals to live their lives without any problems.
There is no such thing as a stray dog. Stray dogs are a breed that emerged from the mating and breeding of owned dogs that were thrown out into the street. For this reason, Europe keeps especially pet owners subject to strict controls. Every pet should be chipped, vaccinated, and neutered. If the animal is taken care of badly, the state directly confiscates the animal and punishes the owner. Usually, fines are imposed, but in some cases up to jail time.
The biggest reason why stray cats and dogs are not seen on the streets in Europe is the strict controls implemented by the municipalities. People are very conscious about keeping pets and they are always observed by the government.
In this way, no one throws their dog out on the street. Also, owning a pet in the Netherlands is not an easy task. Pet owners in the Netherlands have to pay taxes to the state for their animals and undergo various pieces of training before adopting an animal. In France, the situation is quite similar.
Every year, 700 thousand dogs are adopted from shelters in France and almost 50 thousand dogs are abandoned by their owners. Dogs abandoned in shelters are neutered and vaccinated. Then it goes on the list of dogs to be adopted.
There is also a 200 euro fine for abandoning animals. Dangerous breeds are required to walk with a leash and muzzle. Those who want to have a dangerous breed dog can adopt a dog by going through training.
In addition, the sale of animals across the country in France is completely banned as of 2024. In this way, the production of bred animals will stop completely and animal adoption can only be made from shelters. Animal rights in Germany are guaranteed by the "Animal Protection Act". The law regulates how animals should be treated and housed and what to do in case of emergency. According to the law, owners are not allowed to leave their animals on the street for any reason. Those who violate this rule face a fine of up to 25,000 euros, and a prison sentence of up to 3 years if the animal is tortured or killed. Despite these harsh laws, in the German press, especially before the holiday period, a large number of animals, which are dogs, are abandoned by leaving them in parks and streets.
As can be seen from the examples, stray animals are not killed in Europe. Since the 1900s, municipalities have been making important regulations about stray animals and owned animals.
Due to sterilization, the breeding of animals is controlled. In Europe, it has become impossible to see animals on the streets with the "neutralize - vaccinate - adopt" cycle. Dogs that are not adopted continue to live in shelters under good conditions and complete their lives.
So Why Is There a Stray Animals Problem in Türkiye?
Türkiye is a very rich country in terms of street animals. We can see several dogs in almost every neighborhood. That's why animal friends and animal enemies are always fighting. Animal enemies express that they are uncomfortable with dogs and demand that dogs be taken to shelters or killed. Animal friends and voluntary associations feed and treat animals and say that the streets are their home.
Unfortunately, the situation in Türkiye is not the same as in Europe. The number of municipalities with shelters is 237 among 1390 municipalities in Türkiye. The number of veterinarians working in municipalities is 1500. Under these inadequate conditions, sterilization and vaccination cannot be done all over Türkiye. Also, the shelters are like death camps. Animals are not treated, fed, or cared for in many shelters. Animals are left to die in these shelters.
Conscious people who are aware of this situation oppose the recall of stray animals. Because they don't want the animals to die in plain sight. The state's failure to fulfill its duty both causes tension among the people and causes the uncontrolled proliferation of stray animals.
In addition, there are no conditions for not owning an animal in Türkiye. Anyone can breed, buy or own animals. In Türkiye, 40 thousand animals are thrown into the streets every month. No sanctions are applied to the owners of the animals thrown into the street.
No punishment is given to those who torture or even kill animals. The number of animals killed by animal enemies on the street in the last 6 months is over 200 thousand. Animal enemies poison or kill dogs by giving them poisonous meat. The state does not make any inspections and does not impose a penalty.
As a very big animal lover, I don't want animals on the street the most. Because on the street the animals are hungry, they are crushed by cars, they are killed and beaten by their animal enemies. They get sick in the rain and snow, and they die of thirst and hunger in summer.
Any animal-friendly person wants animals to be in this situation. However, I cannot allow any stray animals to go to those shelters because of the inadequate shelters and shelters in Türkiye, which are like death camps.
There is an animal rights law in Türkiye, but the law is not enforced. No one is afraid of cruelty to animals because the law is not enforced. The problem of stray animals in Türkiye can only be solved by the state's implementation of animal rights law and mobilization for sterilization.
In addition, the sale and production of pets must be completely stopped and certain criteria must be sought for owning animals. Animal enemies should convey their discomfort from stray animals to the state, not by fighting with animal-friendly people. Unfortunately, the only reason why the problem has grown so much in Türkiye is the municipalities that do not fulfill their duties and the state that does not implement the animal rights law.