The plight of dogs in the Balkans
In countries that have gone through the turmoil of war and revolution such as Serbia and Romania, thousands of abandoned dogs have been left to roam towns and cities. We are working on the root causes of stray dogs in these countries and to change attitudes towards them.
Many owners who can no longer care or pay for their dogs abandon them. They end up on the streets, scavenging for food and water in a bid to survive.
Because they have been abandoned and are now homeless, these dogs face abuse, disease, starvation and death.
Others born on the street have never known a home and are consistently at risk from traffic accidents, physical illness, violence, malnutrition and dehydration.
If caught, these dogs are usually killed or locked up in squalid dog pounds. Once in the pounds, the dogs face conditions often worse than on the streets.
Although it has been proven that mass killing, or culling, is not an effective way to manage dog populations, some countries still use this method.
Many thousands of dogs in Europe suffer inhumane capture, fear, pain and death.
“The situation is very serious with thousands of dogs abandoned each year, while thousands more are sadly abused or killed. Those dogs abandoned are often kept in bad conditions: on very short chains, with no shelter, water, food, or access to veterinary assistance,” said Sabine Zwiers, European Campaign Manager at World Animal Protection.
“The high population of strays and the cruel, unsanitary condition in which dogs live in the Balkans is in part due to a general lack of knowledge about the welfare of animals. Education is the key to changing people’s behavior and stopping the puppies and dogs becoming abandoned on the streets.”
We continue to work with local partners in Romania and Serbia to find solutions for the problems the countries face with stray dogs.
The main problem is a lack of responsible pet ownership and the need to educate people and communities.
The key to preventing the abandonment of puppies and dogs is to change the behavior of owners and to conduct neutering programs to help reduce the number of stray dogs.