Malamute Matters Global Awareness – Turkey’s “Village Dogs”

Warning: Some images are distressing and may upset you. Please do not scroll through this post if you do not wish to view these images. Turkey’s “Village Dogs” KplRvTurkey has long been a country of striking cultural differences, and the treatment of Istanbul’s 100,000 stray dogs is no less shocking. Not just for the outright cruelty, but because of the contrast in the way these strays are treated… On the one hand, these dogs can be loved members of their communities, with a few dogs being adopted by a neighbourhood, fed with scraps left out, and with some voluntary efforts to spay, neuter and vaccinate them. These strays even took part in the protests, siding with their neighbours against the police forces. When the street dogs were caught in tear gas, the protesters washed out their eyes and carried them to safety. dog-turkey-teargas Even in the ancient Ottoman empire, scholars wrote about the stray dogs across the city. There’s been a stray dog “problem” in Istanbul for centuries, and many Turks have learned over time to live alongside them. In 1861, Mark Twain remarked he had never seen such “doleful-eyed and broken-hearted stray dogs” anywhere else in his life. The Darker Side Travel for just 10 minutes outside of the city limits and you can find mass dog graves, from tens to hundreds of dogs in each place, sometimes covered with a thin sheet or a sprinkling of soil. Nobody takes responsibility for these graves, but animal welfare groups have found most were poisoned. The rescuers believe these dogs are being poisoned en mass and picked up from inside the city, since most are found with food still in their bellies. This makes some sense… if you travel just 20 minutes further, to the woodlands of Istanbul’s northeast, you’ll find packs of dogs starved and emaciated. Without humans to provide a source of food, Istanbul’s “Village Dogs” don’t stand much of a chance… That’s why animal welfare activists in Turkey have been appealing to the international community in response to the government’s latest “solutions” to the stray dog problem. The city and national governments have proposed sending the dogs to remote “conservation zones” where they can live freely away from people. The welfare supporters there know this would be a death sentence for most of these dogs. Thanks to an international outcry the Turkish government postponed the “conservation” plans. The problem will continue to exist thanks to irresponsible attitudes to pet ownership, and a failure of council “neuter and release” programs. In Turkey, the only dogs “worth having” are pedigrees which are seen as status symbols, dog smuggling is a common crime, and the penalty for it is light with a 700 Lira fine (£200/$330). A large segment of the city sees dogs as pests to be removed, and there are obviously groups in Turkey too happy to oblige. .179610_1628870475048_6037317_n Regardless of the cause; when rabies is endemic among Turkey’s stray dog population, and when many communities want the dogs gone at all costs, the fate of Turkey’s “village dogs” rests with a few local rescue activists, and the help they get from those of us supporting them from around the world. Please take a look at these groups and websites if you would like to help prevent this callous treatment of Turkey’s “village dogs”: (Note this is primarily a spay/neuter and release kennels, rather than a politically active group)


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