Turkish Strays in Desperate Need of Justice
President of Turkey, Mr. A. Sezer, Grand National Assembly, Interior Minister of the Turkish Republic, Minister of Environment and Forests of the Turkish Republic, Minister of Education of the Turkish Republic, Turkish Representative of European Unio
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On July 3rd, 2004, the Animal Rights and Protection bill was passed by the Grand National Assembly of Turkey and approved by the President of Turkey. Initially this was seen as a huge step in the right direction, unfortunately this has proven to be wrong.
The one and only solution to a stray animal problem is undoubtedly the catch, spay/neuter and release policy but till this day, neither the Turkish government nor the local authorities, have even started to make an attempt to set up neuter/spay programs.
In the rare places were there was a spay/neuter program, the spayed/neutered dogs are simply being shot or poisoned by order of the local mayor, veterinarian or some other municipality official.
The reports about abuse, neglect, rape and killing of stray dogs are alarming.
Alarming because of the massive scale on which these incidents are occurring but also alarming in regard to the entire Turkish society. What kind of example is set for the children in Turkey? They grow up in a world where dead dogs alongside the road are a normal, every day sight. They grow up in a world where abuse of animals is often seen as just a joke. They grow up in a world that teaches them that (some) laws can be ignored. Would you really like to raise a generation of people that lack respect for nature and all creatures living in it? Lack respect for all living beings that are capable of feeling pain and fear every bit as much as humans can?
Instead you should be in a hurry to teach respect....respect to all, so you will have a responsible and informed new generation of people, which in itself will be beneficial to the stray problem in your country as well.
The recent case of dogs being abused, raped and killed in the shelter of Sivas is only one horrific example. The dogs in the Sivas municipal shelter are, as is the case in most Turkish municipal shelters, severely neglected. Villains access the shelter at night due to inferior fencing and once inside the shelter, they rape, abuse and kill the animals. Leaving empty beer bottles all over the place. The local authorities are aware of this happening but they do not act in anyway. The media have published about this case, the pictures and images are available, yet, again, no one is undertaking any actions.
Let me remind you of the first article of the Turkish Animal Protection Law:
"Article 1: The purpose of this law is to ensure that animals are afforded a comfortable life and receive good and proper treatment, to protect them in the best manner possible from the infliction op pain, suffering and torture, and to prevent all types of cruel treatment."
This is literally what your Law says, this is what has been approved and accepted by all. It's our view that laws are there to be implemented and not to be ignored. The people that have committed crimes against the stray dogs should be brought to justice. They should be held accountable for their gruesome actions, civilians and officials alike.
So, we strongly urge you to start protecting the animals and implement the law. To set up catch, neuter and release programs, to start vaccination programs, to employ responsible and caring people in the municipal shelters, to provide medical care, general care, food, fresh water, enough space and warm, dry places for the dogs in the municipal shelters, to start educational and informational programs, to set up a humane teaching program for veterinarians and dog catchers and to start bringing to justice all those that are acting against the law.
After all, it is your law, and you all are responsible of seeing to it, that it is being implemented!