Stormy discussions on social media are questioning the wisdom of this campaign
Five-year-old resident of Sumqayit, Zeynab Mikailzade, passed away at the end of July as a result of a bite from a rabid, stray dog. This information became the pretext for a campaign to rid the streets of Sumqayit and Baku of stray dogs.
This is the only case registered in 2017 of a death caused by a dog bite.
However, according to the head of the department of the center of hygiene and epidemiology of the Ministry of Health, Rita Ismailova, over the past eight months this year, 6500 people were bitten by different animals, 90% of which were stray dogs.
Over the course of the first half of August, residents of Baku witnessed a real ‘hunt’ of homeless dogs. Municipal employees in special vans have been shooting dogs right in front of people’s eyes, including in front of children. Moreover, the bodies of the dogs are not taken away, but rather have been left to decay in the heat and sun. According to the ‘hunters’, the dead dogs are supposed to be picked up by a different municipal service.
“Today, the dog shootings have begun again. As always, the most peaceful and trusting of animals have fallen prey to bullets. The killings of dogs leads to artificial selection and as a result, only the wildest dogs manage to live,” Baku resident Nigar Aghayeva writes on her Facebook page.
This campaign roused wide-spread discussion on social media networks. The majority of commentators condemn the shootings, however those who justify the actions of municipal authorities are also present. Here are several comments:
“The only way to control the population of stray animals is sterilization and castration. Other methods do not work. In our country, it has been several decades that they have been shooting dogs on the streets of the city. If this was an effective method, the problem would have disappeared 50 years ago.”
“Sterilization and castration solves the problem of the stray dog population within seven years. Castrated and sterilized dogs stop being aggressive and do not present any danger for people. When animals are shot, the others begin reproducing at a quick rate. This is regulated by nature. A female dog may give birth to more than nine pupsif there are less dogs around her.”
“The country that hosts olympiads and Formula 1 cannot solve this problem. Or rather, it doesn’t want to. They equate themselves to advanced European countries, but there you won’t find a single homeless dog. Take Turkey and Georgia, for example. How much they have achieved! Our [people] simply don’t want to take this up. I don’t know how many more people need to be bitten and how many more homeless dogs need to be killed before the state finally resolves this issue.”
“I also love animals and I won’t accept violence against them. I hate zoos and aquariums. But this doesn’t mean that the city should be turned into a wild forest. One needs to control stray dogs strictly, and they need to be removed from the area where people live. It turns out that the state allocated money towards the fight against stray dogs. Colleague Ilkin Muradov writes that the executive authorities of the city of Baku pay 28 manat (about 15 euros) for every stray dog killed.”
The head of the Battalion Control Department of the Baku City Executive Authority, Arastun Amiraslanov, claims:
“The problem of homeless dogs in Baku will be solved by the end of the year. Currently projects are being carried out towards this end. People will see homeless dogs on the street but they will be neutered, sterilized, vaccinated and safe for people.”
“Dogs are caught by special means. Without using force, they are taken to a special department for the struggle against homeless animals. Veterinarians examine the dogs. If they find an illness that is dangerous for people, for example, rabies, then they are incinerated after being put down. We feed the healthy dogs, keep and clean them. Moreover, dogs are caught and sterilized so that they can’t reproduce. After this, they are numbered and released back onto the street,” APA cited Amiraslanov as saying.