The other day Muscovites were shocked by the news of the death of sika deer on the territory of Losiny Ostrov – the animals were killed by stray dogs. This episode is not unique: the aggressive behavior of stray animals has already become a problem in different districts of Moscow. Residents of the Ramenki district in western Moscow complained about a flock of stray dogs – animals move along the Setun River and attack cats and pets.
Even earlier, residents of the Zyuzino district in the South-Western Administrative District reported about dog attacks – there, according to the authors of the complaint, the danger comes not only from stray animals, but also from those whom the owners let out for a walk without a leash and muzzle (despite the proximity of playgrounds). How to properly interact with dogs in a metropolis, the correspondents of “MK” figured out.
The most recent victim is quite graphic and worthy of painting: three sika deer, which were found dead on a holiday weekend right on the porch of the Losiny Ostrov biological station. “All individuals were seriously injured, incompatible with life. The death of ungulates was recorded by the National Park Protection Service and confirmed by the Mytishchi Veterinary Station. Homeless dogs, like wolves, are a natural disturbance factor for wild animals living in specially protected natural areas. The proximity of the protected areas with the metropolis inevitably creates the problem of the penetration of urban stray dogs into the protected areas, which huddle in flocks and make attacks, “said representatives of Losiny Ostrov.
An employee of the biological station told the “MK” correspondent that stray dogs often enter the protected forest from the Moscow region. “Animals abandoned by their owners in the wild most often do not survive, except for the most adapted ones, which hybridize with feral dogs, and in the third or fourth generation form packs like wolves,” the biologist noted. “Most often, feral dogs are not afraid of people, but they do not touch them either, but they pose a mortal danger to domestic dogs and wildlife.” The press service of Losiny Ostrov clarifies that the problem needs to be worked out in a dialogue not only with Moscow, but also with the region – the Moscow Region Mytishchi, Korolev and Shchelkovo adjoin Losiny Ostrov. However, what does it mean to “work through”? Both in Moscow and in the Moscow region, the same Federal Law “On the Responsible Treatment of Animals …” is in force, which provides for a single algorithm for working with street dogs: capture, placement in a shelter, sterilization, return to that landscape, where the animal was taken from. This law, which had been discussed and adopted for many years, at one time put an end to the “animal protection impasse” in which Russia found itself: to shoot, as before, is inhumane, and you will not be enough of shelters and even more new owners.
More precisely, it seemed a year ago that the point had been set. Today’s news shows that no solution has been reached. The attacks continue, how many of them are unknown: earlier, to media inquiries at the Main Directorate of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, they answered that the reporting form, according to the statistics of citizens’ appeals to the police due to dog attacks, was not provided.
– In order for flocks of stray dogs to cease to pose a danger, it is necessary, firstly, to promptly sterilize, neuter, vaccinate, microchip and tag all street dogs and ensure tight control over the work of trapping services, says Natalya Tsvetkova, coordinator of charitable programs of the charitable foundation for helping homeless animals Ray. – Thus, animals will at least stop reproducing, that is, the growth of existing flocks and the formation of new ones will stop, sexual aggression will be excluded. Secondly, all socialized and tame animals with a good prospect of socialization should be removed from the streets, placed in overexposure and looking for a home for them.
– To solve the problem at the level of one region is senseless and impossible, the president of the Center for Legal Animal Protection Svetlana Ilyinskaya is sure. – It is necessary at the federal level to prohibit the unsupervised stay of pets on the streets. This applies not only to dogs, but also to cats. The “capture – sterilization – return” program that is in effect now is inhumane: the animals remain on the street, their numbers are still regulated. Moreover, the regulator is not sterilization at all, but the death of animals, often terrible and painful. Due to the impossibility of irretrievable capture, citizens and municipalities secretly destroy animals in cruel ways: they poison, shoot, walled up basements for cats, and so on. Whereas there is a scenario tested in the West: animals that have no prospects of attachment are painlessly euthanized when the shelter is overcrowded. This is sad, but it is much more correct than what is happening now.
According to the expert, local authorities often resort to illegal and cruel methods because they are approached by residents concerned about animals. People demand to “remove the dogs” – but there are no shelters for their maintenance, as well as funds for their construction. Therefore, dogs are killed secretly, and those who are not ready to do this, simply catch and take the animals to another territory. Where part of the flock dies, and the fittest survive – to become an even more serious threat to human settlements and fauna. After which they are nevertheless destroyed – again by illegal and therefore brutal methods in order to avoid public discontent.
What if the dog does attack?
On the issue of catching stray dogs in Moscow, you can contact the prefecture of the administrative district on the territory of which the animals were found, as well as the Moscow Department of Nature Management. According to article 8 of the law “On the organization of local self-government in the city of Moscow” (as amended on November 20, 2019), measures for the capture and maintenance of stray animals inhabiting its territory are related to issues of local significance of the urban district. In the Moscow region, you need to contact the municipality administration.
“When meeting stray dogs, you should not shout, wave your arms, make sudden movements, it is better, if possible, to calmly step aside, avoid contact,” emphasizes Natalia Tsvetkova from the Ray Foundation. Dog handlers also resemble old, but not outdated, practices: pick up a stone or a stick from the ground and throw it at the dog, or imitate such a throw, loudly shout a few standard commands. If there is an attack, first of all, you need to protect the throat – this is where the animal can grab.
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