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AK Party prepares new regulations for stray dogs, including euthanasia

AK Party prepares new regulations for stray dogs, including euthanasia High number of stray dogs in Bilecik, Türkiye, September 12, 2019. (AA Photos)
By Yucel Kayaoglu
Jun 23, 2024 10:36 AM

The AK Party will make a final decision on the new stray dog regulation this week.

The AK Party has been working on a draft that includes euthanasia for unclaimed stray dogs, and tomorrow’s AK Party Central Decision-Making and Executive Committee meeting will discuss it. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and committee members have provided their opinions, and they aim to submit the proposal to the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TBMM) Presidency for possible legislation in the coming days.

AK Party sources stated that the draft includes deterrent penalties for those who illegally breed purebred dogs and then release excess puppies into the streets. Party officials commented, “Irresponsibly breeding purebred dogs results in 5–6 puppies in one litter. They will penalize those who keep one or two puppies and abandon the rest on the streets. There will be penalties for both illegal breeding and abandonment on the streets, initially set at ₺50,000. However, the amount could be higher than ₺50,000 for deterrence purposes.”

Furthermore, individuals involved in producing, adopting, harboring, feeding, exchanging, exhibiting, gifting, importing, selling, or advertising dangerous animals will also face a fine of ₺50,000 per animal. Local governments, whose responsibilities regarding the intake, sterilization, and adoption of stray dogs are increased, will also receive support from relevant ministries.

A veterinary panel will make the decision

Moreover, there will be no step back from the euthanasia policy for unclaimed stray dogs, which has been a topic of intense public debate. AK Party sources mentioned, “Otherwise, these aggressive dogs would become uncontrollable. Euthanasia will be applied to dogs posing societal risks, carrying rabies, having illnesses, and having no adoption prospects. This will be decided by a panel of veterinary doctors. The relevant ministries will support municipalities regarding adoption, sterilization, and shelters. A budget will be allocated for this purpose.”

How is the euthanasia clause formulated?

Current legislation allows for the application of euthanasia in cases where animals experience pain or distress, have no chance of recovery from a disease, prevent an acute infectious animal disease, pose a risk to human health, display behaviors endangering human and animal life and health, or exhibit uncontrollable negative behaviors. This regulation also stipulates that unclaimed animals will undergo euthanasia within a month. A separate directive will further regulate procedures and principles for euthanasia.

Municipalities are not complying with court orders

Street dogs frequently attack people living in the Sogutozu region, according to lawyer Meltem Zorba, who stated that they filed a lawsuit against the relevant court in Ankara’s Cankaya district due to her client’s attack. Zorba emphasized that municipalities do not collect unclaimed street dogs despite court orders, suggesting that the new animal rights law draft should contain stringent provisions for municipalities failing to fulfill their responsibilities. Zorba said, “Our expectation is a law that includes measures to eliminate unclaimed street dogs. Clear duties and responsibilities should definitely be assigned to local administrations for these measures. These responsibilities must be clearly defined, with a time frame and penalties if not fulfilled. Otherwise, we will struggle to achieve the intended purpose of the law.”

Zorba emphasized a substantial number of victims resulting from stray dog attacks in Turkey, revealing that the Ministry of Health’s 2023 rabies vaccine reports indicate that 437 thousand individuals receive vaccinations annually to mitigate the risk of rabies contact. She also pointed out that dogs attack 1,200 people daily, and 91% of rabies cases are associated with unclaimed stray dogs.

Last Updated:  Jun 23, 2024 10:50 AM