Have you ever seen a street dog? Sure you did. In some places the so called street dogs (free-ranging urban dogs) are more common than in others and here are some interesting street dog facts from countries all over the globe.
Romania and Serbia
Romania is known for its huge street dog population. The câini maidanezi (“wasteland dogs”) inhabit the countryside as well as the urban areas where they are still a big problem nowadays. Large numbers of street dogs are captured and killed every year in Romana – especially Bucharest. Voluntaries from other European countries come to Romania in the attempt to rescue these dogs and deliver them to countries with dog-adoption programs, such as the Czech Republic.
In Serbia, the street dogs are as much of a problem as in Romania. Their numbers are high and the attacks on people quite common.
Czech Republic and Slovakia
Seeing stray dogs in the streets of Czech and Slovak cities is highly unusual and so it is in the countryside with the exception of several ghettos especially in the eastern part of Slovakia. In both countries the street dogs are effectively captured by the police and often placed with new owners. There are also many non-profit organizations helping the animals find new families. The organizations operating in Czech Republic often import dogs from other countries, especially Romania but also from the neighboring Slovakia.
Stray dogs are common also in Russia. Doghunting has had a tradition in Russia going back at least to 1900 and the fate of these animals has been dramatized in the work of A. Chekhov, M. Bulgakov or. G. Troyepolsky. In the 1990s the street dog population was on the rise and with it the attacks on people. The first response of the authorities were massive capture-and-kill actions. However, recently the country is adopting a more humane polity which consists in sterilizing the free raging urban dogs.
It has been observed that street dogs in Moscow have adapted to the life in the Russian capital that they’ve learnt to respect the traffic and even to ride the metro. In 2002 a monument in honor of the street dogs was unveiled in Moscow, it’s called Malchik (“little boy”).
Italy and Greece
Both Italy and Greece have a large population of stray dogs. Although control policies exist and so do dog rescues and adoption programs, the population control often meets difficulties due to the fact that people actively complicate the work of professionals intending to sterilize stray animals as sterilization goes against their religious beliefs.
India and street dogs belong together. In fact, the Indian street dog population has become a health hazard. The numbers of these dogs sky-rocketed and with them the spread of diseases due to the decline of the vulture population which helped terminate some of the diseases by consuming the infected carcasses which were now left to the dogs). Moreover, a 2001 law made killing a street dog illegal which resulted in a boom of the dog population.
Unlike its neighbor, Pakistan adopted a street dog killing policy. This was launched by the Public Health Department despite the petitions of the animal rights organizations asking for stray dogs to be vaccinated rather than killed.
The Thai street dogs, known as soi-dogs, are often sold for meat to Vietnam and China. According to the estimates, in 2016 there were 8 and half million stray dogs in the country. Whilst in the 1990s euthanasia was a common practice with the street dogs, the animal rights organizations in Thailand argued that this was contrary to the Buddhist beliefs and Bangkok adopted a sterilization policy instead.
There’s a legal obligation in Bangkok to implant a microchip to be able to find the dog owner and also the rabies vaccine is mandatory. Moreover, feeding stray dogs in public places is prohibited.
Millions of stray animals are euthanized every year in the USA due to the overcrowding of the dog shelters. There are also organizations focused on dog adoption which involves also importing dogs from Puerto Rico.
In Puerto Rico, the street dogs and cats are called satos. In 2018, the non-profit Sato Project launched a large-scale project with the objective to sterilize the population of street animals (the project is known as “spayathon”).
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