Some demand that the dogs be shot, while others say they should be sterilized and left alone
There were almost 5,000 recorded cases of dog attacks in Azerbaijan in the first three months of 2018, the Ministry of Health told 1news.az.
This news comes with renewed discussion in Azerbaijan over how to deal with the country’s stray dog issue – some demand they should be put down, while others are calling for a more humanitarian approach.
Most recently, social media users were outraged to learn that a four-year-old boy in Sulutepe village just outside of Baku was mauled by a rabid dog who tore off his face.
Coincidentally, on the same day, animal advocates organized a rally in front of the Baku government administration building, demanding support for stray dogs held at the Toplan animal centre.
Participants of the demonstration said that instead of being given shelter and care, dogs and other animals are caught and killed by the employees of the centre.
The Toplan centre was opened in February 2019. The project was implemented by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation and municipal authorities per the decision of the Vice-President of the Foundation and the daughter of the president, Leyla Aliyeva. Toplan was created by the authorities in response to a prolonged scandal around the barbaric shooting of stray dogs in the city.
These events stirred society and provoked discussion about the issue.
There have been a number of other recent cases of dogs attacking people. For example, on 21 April on the outskirts of Baku, a schoolboy fleeing a pack of dogs ran out onto the roadway and was hit by a car. However, the child received only minor injuries.
Veterinarian Orkhan Hajili:
“To reduce the aggression of street dogs, they need to be sterilized. After such an operation, they become safe. It is also important to be careful with street animals. People torture them, and in response they show aggression. Animals, surrounded by care, fed and watered, do not attack people.”
MP Araz Alizade:
“Stray dogs need to be killed. This was done in old times. Protecting stray dogs in Azerbaijan is a bad practice, borrowed from Western countries. But you can not kill stray animals in front of people. It would be nice if the dogs were killed in certain places.”
Reaction from social media:
“As long as we have not learned to control the number of stray dogs, they must be shot.”
“Dogs need to be removed from the streets, but not by shooting. Let special centres be built where they can be sterilized. And do not say that there is no money. If you shake a couple of corrupt officials, then you can build 200 special centres of the sort.”
“First you need to shoot bribe takers, then rabid dogs!”