Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The cats and dogs of Skopje

In Skopje, there are many loose cats and dogs wandering the streets. Some of the dogs have a yellow tag in their ear; this means that they are being monitored by the government and have received vaccinations.

Wild kitty

Talking to some locals, we found out that they have been bitten by the animals on the street. D said that he was walking along and a dog, unprovoked, ran up and bit him on the leg! I asked him if he had to get rabies shots afterward. He said no, because the dog was tested and didn't have rabies. I wondered how on earth he would know. After he was bitten, he captured the dog and took him to the vet! It was both funny and awful at the same time. I'm not sure that I personally would want to try to round up a feral dog who had just bitten me!

I asked why the animals weren't rounded up and taken to a shelter. I was told that it's an animals' rights issue and people are sensitive about such things happening. Instead, the government monitors some of the animals for sickness. They must fend for themselves in the food department.

Since I like to think about things from all angles, here are other thoughts about the situation:

-Is it "humane" for animals to wander around with no set food supply, and to get sick (not all of them were tagged as being immunized) and/or get hit by vehicles?
-Is it a matter of public health to worry about randomly being bitten/attacked by the feral animals? I heard from several people that they were bitten, unprovoked.
-What about the animals breeding and creating more feral animals?

Those are all tough questions, for sure.

Some animals receive basic care from residents. For example, in the Old Bazaar, one merchant had a sweet set-up for the street kitties to take a nap in front of his store:

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