Can we find a solution to the problem of stray dogs?
There are many complaints about stray dogs in Istanbul, but the problem is still not solved.
Some people are afraid of dogs because they believe the dogs will bite them. They don’t like them to roam around on the streets freely.
They insistently file complaints to municipalities and urge authorities to save them from stray dogs.
But when the municipality starts fulfilling their demands, they face resistance from animal lovers who accuse them of torturing the dogs.
They are right, because dog catching is not done very conscientiously in Turkey.
Dogs have been living amongst humans peacefully, but they are being killed before the eyes of locals, who have taken care of the dogs in neighborhoods as if they were theirs. When officials inject dogs with overdosed vaccines, the dogs die immediately. This shows that there are no veterinarians with the officials when they catch the dogs.
I believe catching dogs would be done conscientiously in the presence of veterinarians; this way the animals would not perish or die.
We humans do not grant these dogs lives, so do we actually have the right to take it away from them?
There are people who have been bitten by stray dogs, who fear walking near them on the streets, and who run to municipalities and complain about them.
Of course, they also have rights.
Their fear must also be taken into consideration and something must be done to relieve them too.
But discussions over finding a solution to these stray dogs reach a futile point, and people eventually question whether the priority must be on dogs or humans.
This, however, is wrong! Humans and dogs are both living beings. We cannot deem one more important than the other.
We need to sit down, think thoroughly and solve this problem in humane ways.
But here is what happens today: The complaint comes, the dog catchers go on to the streets, cause a thousand different torments and even in some cases cause death; they stuff the dogs into trucks and throw them in dump sites selected mostly from the Istanbul neighborhoods of Göktürk and Pirinççiköy or the district of Şile on the Black Sea coast. Of course, those dumped in the forests are left in a worse situation.
There, the animals are hungry and miserable. In some areas, animal lovers go and feed them but not every area bears such an option.
Those dogs eat whatever they find in the area and eventually become aggressive.
Dogs then, naturally, die. Many of them die from illness or hunger. Puppies perish because they are not fed as soon as they are born.
We must know that when we demand the municipalities to take the dogs off the streets, they are not taken to shelters. They are either left to die or are killed as a result of vaccine overdose; they are dumped to starve to death, become ill, desperate and aggressive in the end.
This is also one of the problems of this city that must be solved. We must find a civilized and a reasonable solution.
Catching the dogs secretly and dumping them in the evenings to certain areas does not mean anything else than putting the problem over other people’s and municipalities’ shoulders.
The Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality should develop an improvement plan for the whole city and put it into practice as soon as possible.
There must be a solution that will please both those who are afraid of stray dogs and animal lovers.
The veterinarian Hakan Uygur says dogs are predators. According to him, an increase in the dog population means they eat excessively other living beings in the nature. Of course, dogs must live healthy and comfortable lives in dog wellness centers which are designed well. They must take every kind of medical support and never be left hungry. These facilities must be inspected continuously by inspectors from animal lover organizations.
Uygur believes dogs aren’t supposed to live in the wild and forests. Those territories belong to wolves, weasels, foxes, wild cats and lynxes. It is a problem if you see dogs instead of them in the wild nature.
Dogs are animals that hunt and chase, and can become wild from time to time as a result of bad treatment.
Just like the way wild dogs chase antelopes, they can also chase children on bicycles or cars in cities.
We must improve planning throughout the city, similar to those in advanced countries.