Bozcaada locals cry out against poisoning of animals on the island
Locals of the Aegean island of Bozcaada off Turkey’s northwestern province of Çanakkale have been crying out against the poisoning of animals on the island, demanding authorities to capture the perpetrators.
On New Year’s Eve only, 20 cats were killed after being poisoned, locals said.
But what sparked the latest outrage was the killing of the two animals of Berna Yurdusev, who has been living on the island for the past 10 years and petting two dogs.
Yurdusev told daily Hürriyet of the last moments of her dogs, Mişa and Arap, saying “they had begun foaming at the mouth most probably after swallowing toxic substances.”
Ayşe Baykara, from Bozcaada City Council’s nature and animal rights working group, said they had asked the Bozcaada Governor’s Office for the latest poisoning incident to be investigated but the authorities had conducted a “superficial analysis,” in which they said “no poison has been found in the area investigated.”
Baykara, however, said they would continue to “pursue their fight” regarding animal rights, hoping the latest poisoning incident would be the last on the island. She also said that in the aftermath of such incidents locals tried to adopt as many stray animals as possible.
Baykara blamed the impunity given to perpetrators as the motivation behind killing animals. “One person gets obsessed with cats and kills them. Then another, seeing that the other was not punished, spreads poison everywhere to stop foxes from roaming around. Another then, getting courage from all this, decides to wipe out dogs and says, ‘I am disturbed by them.’ Because, there is no deterrent punishment,” Baykara said.
Bozcaada Mayor Hakan Can Yılmaz also condemned the poisoning of the animals on the island, stressing that the poisons mixed with the animals’ food also have negative effects on humans.
“We have conducted meetings to raise awareness among the island’s locals [regarding the poisons]. We have personally explained the damages of poison on our children and us. We have lost Mişa, one of the symbolic animals of our island,” Yılmaz said.
Killing, torturing or tormenting stray animals and pets was penalized with a fine until now, but with a new government bill, proposing animals in Turkey “are not property,” this is about to change.
The draft law foresees that torturing and killing animals will bring about a jail sentence for the perpetrator and not a fine — a topic which has widely been discussed in Turkey for years now, with animal rights activists calling for a change for decades.