Türkiye plans law to kill street dogs

German Animal Welfare Association criticizes regression in animal protection

Bonn. The German Animal Welfare Association is criticizing a proposed law in Turkey that would see street dogs put down in the future if they have not been rehomed after 30 days. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wants to reverse the current animal-friendly legislation on “catching, neutering and releasing” street dogs. In recent months, street dogs have often been brutally caught by city employees and taken to city animal shelters, as pictures on social media show.

“The current developments represent a clear step backwards for animal welfare in Turkey. It is deeply shocking that instead of the existing animal-friendly concept, the cruel and senseless killing of street dogs is now being used,” says Lisa Hoth-Zimak, specialist for pets at the German Animal Welfare Association. Turkish law currently provides for castration, subsequent marking and release of street dogs – a concept that is supported by the German Animal Welfare Association and experience has shown that it can reduce the population of street dogs over the years in a sustainable and animal-friendly way. Killing the animals, on the other hand, is contrary to animal welfare, according to animal welfare activists, and does not achieve the desired effect in the long term. In such cases, “gaps” in the population that have become available are usually quickly closed by more young animals following in or by animals immigrating from outside.

Example of Romania shows: Killings are not effective

Street dog Romania_German Animal Welfare AssociationThe fact that the killing of street dogs does not achieve the desired results can be seen in Romania, for example, where since 2013, captured street dogs have been allowed to be killed after a biting incident with a supposed street dog. However, the number of animals has not changed since then. With a first model project initiated by the German Animal Welfare Association and its member association “Tierhilfe Hoffnung”, a district in Romania is now using the “catch, neuter, release” concept for the first time. The animal rights activists hope that it will be expanded nationwide – and advise Turkey not to make the same mistake as Romania once did by changing the law. “Instead of senselessly causing suffering and death, Turkey should optimize the implementation of the 'catch, neuter, release' concept,” says Hoth-Zimak. Among other things, funds could be made available to neuter and vaccinate both free-roaming pets owned by owners and stray dogs without owners.

German Animal Welfare Association appeals to political representatives
As early as October 2023, the German Animal Welfare Association had contacted the responsible Turkish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, the German Embassy in Turkey, the Turkish Embassy in Germany and the German-Turkish parliamentary group in the Bundestag and made it clear that it was necessary to continue the management of street dogs according to the tried and tested concept of “catch, neuter, release”. There has been no response to the letters so far.

German Animal Welfare Association