Stray dogs shot and dumped in Turkish landfills

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Since November 24, 2022, videos showing killed stray dogs found in public dumps in Turkey have been circulating on social networks. Animal welfare NGOs blame municipalities for these acts of cruelty.

The abuse of stray dogs is illegal in Turkey, but it is no less prevalent in this country where the number of stray dogs is estimated at more than 10 million.

Fin 2021, against a backdrop of stray dog ​​attacks that caused the death of several childrenTurkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had asked municipalities to take care of “dangerous stray dogs” and place them in dedicated centres.

“The municipalities primarily responsible”

Since the adoption of a law on the protection of animals in 2004, municipalities have the obligation to take care of stray dogs, that is to say to collect them, treat them, sterilize them and vaccinate them before to put them back on the street.

But on the ground, the reality seems quite different according to the videos circulating on social networks. Images released on November 24 show an employee beat a dog with a shovel in a dog shelter in the city of Konya, in the center of the country. This video caused a great stir in the country.

Domic Dyer is a member of the Born Free Foundation, an international organization that closely monitors the situation of stray dogs in Turkey:

This is not an isolated incident. Dogs are killed like this all the time, including by some municipalities and by citizens. They are bludgeoned to death, poisoned, in disgusting conditions

Stray dog ​​corpses, probably collected by municipalities, have indeed been found in public dumps, as evidenced by these videos broadcast by animal protection NGOs.

The stray animal protection association Paw Guards, which has more than 30,000 volunteers and activists, shared, on December 18, 2022, on Twitter, images showing the corpses of stray dogs in a landfill in the small town of Ağrı in east of the country.

In this video shared on Twitter on December 12, 2022 by @devnazofficial, a Turkish vlogger who defends the animal cause, we see a vehicle bearing the mention “Kars Belediyesi” (Municipality of Kars in Turkey) being near a dump where dead dogs lie.

“Sometimes they are slaughtered because they are considered unclean”

The culling of stray dogs in Turkey is not unique to the authorities, Dominic Dyer:

Stray dogs are put down mostly by people in rural areas, who are conservative because these people are not pet friendly. They consider that the dogs are not clean. They feel very uncomfortable with these animals in the streets.

A video, taken in early December 2022, where we see an individual strangling a stray dog ​​in the middle of the street in Sariyer, near Istanbul, was also sent to our editorial staff. We hear two witnesses say “let go, but let go” while filming the scene. The attacker was arrested by the police.

Screen capture of a video showing an individual strangling a dog in Istanbul at the beginning of December, transmitted to the editorial staff of the Observers.
Screen capture of a video showing an individual strangling a dog in Istanbul at the beginning of December, transmitted to the editorial staff of the Observers. © The Observers

On August 23, 2022, Turkey blocked access to Havrita, a mobile application that consists of a map indicating places with high concentrations of stray dogs, following calls for its closure by animal rights groups. . They believed that the application was misused to kill animals.

An online petition

For Sibel Akin, president of Pets in Turkey, a Turkish organization active in the defense of abandoned animals, only a large-scale sterilization campaign will solve the problem of the overpopulation of stray dogs in Turkey:

“A stray dog ​​can live a maximum of five years on the streets anyway. So if there is a big nationwide vaccination and sterilization campaign, this problem will be solved in a few years.”

An online petition was launched in early December 2022 to denounce the “inhumane” treatment of stray dogs. Calls to boycott Turkey as a tourist destination have also been relayed on social networks with the hashtag #boycottTurkey.

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