Companion animal management – Stray dog control:

Current status: 

There is currently no European legislation governing the control of stray dogs. Most countries in the Balkans have national legislation regulating control of stray dogs and set rules for owned animals, including commercial breeding and keeping of animals, as well as identification of animals. There is a comprehensive OIE code on the control of stray animals. The management of stray dog populations remains to be a challenge that has not been effectively tackled. There is a great need for a long term preventative approach that targets the source of unwanted animals.

What is in place:

Legislation and guidelinesDSC00114

  • OIE guidelines
  • National legislation – animal welfare law, identification and registration, stray dog control, commercial breeding and selling, animal establishments, dog control laws, and rabies control.
  • EU- pet passport
  • EU- Animal health
  • OIE Europe platform for animal welfare will specifically focus on stray dog control in the Balkan region.

Control strategies:

Countries seem to opt for CNR approach as politically more favorable approach although not effective in controlling the population as this approach does not target the source of dogs. Another approach is a more traditional combination approach between catching, sheltering, adoptions and euthanasia. The infrastructure, service provisions are very poorly developed across the region.

Most countries have some form of stray dog control in place generally carried out by the municipal authorities. There is no monitoring and evaluation of programmes to measure effectiveness. No countries systematically collect data on population, dog ecology and ownership trends.

Public opinion:

This remains an emotional and divisive issues dominated by local NGOs and often manipulated by the media. There are many misconceptions surrounding the stray dog problems and interventions are often based on short term approach that appeases the general public and NGOs,  but often insensitive to wider community and/or the available resources.

Future actions by the RAWC:

  1. To evaluate the current legislation and by-laws that exists in the region.
  2. To examine currents stray control practices
  3. To identify successful models and best practice.
  4. To develop a regional approach for intervention.
  5. To develop a stepwise approach for intervention and a traffic light systems for countries to self evaluate and undertake further steps towards a fully integrated approach.
  6. Commercial movements of dog what are the hazards? Low regulation in region
  7. To liaise with the OIE platform and support the development of regional OIE roadmap.