Turkey, stray dogs

‘’Turkey could have a serious problem with stray dogs’’

Turkey is concerned about a wave of attacks by stray dogs. Only 2% of stray animals are sterilized.

Turkey could have a serious problem with stray animals if urgent measures are not taken to prevent their uncontrolled proliferation, such as sterilization, Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan himself has warned amid growing public concern after several attacks by stray dogs.

Speaking yesterday at an event held in Ankara on the occasion of Atatürk, Youth and Sports Day when asked about this problem, Erdoğan said that municipalities must take more serious measures to shelter stray animals, while criticized the way the Istanbul Metropolitan City Council – governed by the opposition – is dealing with this problem. “Other municipalities like Konya, or the Beykoz district in Istanbul, have great animal shelters. The Istanbul city council should do the same”, he insisted.

Erdoğan, who owns a dog himself (something relatively rare in Turkey compared to Europe), stressed that the sterilization of stray dogs is “essential” to tackle the problem of the uncontrolled proliferation of these animals. “Turkey can pay a high price if it does not put an end to the uncontrolled proliferation of stray animals,” he said.

Turkey, where it is estimated that some 10 million stray animals live, of which only 2% are sterilized, has traditionally maintained a culture of full tolerance and coexistence with these animals, especially with cats but also with dogs, being habitual see abandoned and stray dogs freely roaming the streets and highways; but in recent months several attacks on children by dogs have sparked deep concern in Turkish society.

The Turkish president would have already instructed the Turkish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry to intensify measures to stop the proliferation of stray dogs, including sterilization, in coordination with local administrations and municipalities. “Of course, we are concerned about attacks against our children. No father can accept that, nor can he ignore it apart from his love for animals. We have to be realistic: we have to take measures to protect ourselves,” Erdoğan concluded.