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Dogs looking for friends

IBAN NL62INGB0004011891 BIC / SWIFT-Code: INGBNL2A ING Bank-Amsterdam. ActieZwerfhonden Zonnemaire The Netherlands

Neuter and release

There are only 3 ways to solve straydog problems.

(1) To kill or remove every single fertile bitch.

(2) To remove the food source, i.e. remove all rubbish from the streets so that the dogs starve to death. Or

(3) Neuter and Release

Stray dog populations anywhere depend solely on the amount of food available. Nature adjusts the population to the carrying capacity of the territory. If just one fertile female escapes being poisoned she can breed up to 67,000 offspring in 6 years.* That is why poisoning will never succeed unless every single female is exterminated.

If however the carrying capacity of an area is filled with sterile animals the population will gradually die out, providing no fertile dogs can infiltrate from surrounding areas and providing freshly abandoned dogs are collected by dog wardens, police and residents (as in developed countries).


Policies doomed to fail: Poisoning and Incarceration.

(a) Poisoning.

This is usually done surreptitiously between midnight and 2 a.m. by municipal workers or by private contractors to municipalities who then return to collect dead bodies. We have been told that it is the policy of the Ministry of Agriculture in Ankara. Meatballs are laced with a high dose of strychnine and are thrown out of vans in areas where stray dogs (are believed to) live. No notice is given to local residents of poisoning so dog owners are unable to protect their pets from it. However poisoners usually desist when confronted by members of the public.

The poisoning is indiscriminate and appallingly cruel. Death is slow and agonising. Many pets and neutered dogs have eaten poisoned meatballs. SHKD knows of many deaths of pets in places such as Kemerburgaz, where almost all the stray dogs have in any case been neutered and vaccinated by us. There is even the possibility that an unsupervised infant could eat a poisoned meatball.

Outbreaks of rabies are the pretext for these extermination campaigns, although as far as we know there has never been any proof that the rabies panics are based on anything more than rumour
In the short term poisoning does of course reduce the stray dog population but unless it is carried out intensively and persistently it cannot eradicate stray dogs.

If poisoning worked the stray dog population of Istanbul would have been eliminated centuries ago.

If each fertile bitch has 8 live puppies twice a year 71% of all fertile females must be poisoned twice a year before the population starts to diminish slowly. If as many as 80% of all fertile females could be poisoned every 6 months the stray dog population in a typical municipality would be reduced from 4000 dogs to 1084 dogs after 7 years (again assuming each bitch has 8 live puppies twice a year).

This compares to a stray dog population of only 40 after 7 years if Neuter and Release is implemented.
The problem for the poisoners is that the dogs can breed so fast – according to the Doris Day Animal League one female dog and her offspring can produce 67000 puppies in 6 years ! – that all they achieve is a temporary reduction in the dog population. Every surviving bitch breeds. And no dogs are vaccinated against rabies. With ‘neuter and release’ most of the bitches on the streets don’t breed and die natural deaths, although for 4 years the dog population is higher than with 80% poisoning

(b)Catch and Incarcerate

This is a summary of the policy adopted recently by authorities in Istanbul but not put into practice except in Bakirkoy (the management of whose shelter and clinic S.H.K.D has recently taken over in order to alleviate the suffering of the incarcerated animals). By removing and imprisoning animals in camps municipalities are simply creating empty feeding territories which nature will soon fill with new fertile dogs. So ‘Catch and Incarcerate’ makes the problem worse, not better (see below).
In Turkey there is little or no hope of rehoming these captured dogs. SHKD has been able to rehome to Turkish homes less than 1% of its dogs and many of those have been ‘adopted’ as guard dogs for factories or prisons, not as domestic pets.
The dog population in Bakirkoy will gradually recover to the carrying capacity of the municipality of about 1500 dogs in addition to the 700 dogs SHKD is looking after in the shelter.

Extermination campaigns, for example the recent indiscriminate strychnine poisoning of dogs at night irrespective of whether they are neutered and vaccinated or indeed pets with owners, have never succeeded in Istanbul.


‘Neuter and Release’, the policy advocated by the World Health Organisation and the World Society for the Protection of Animals, solves the problem permanently, although dogs have to be tolerated on the streets for 3-5 years for it to succeed. Providing it is implemented to the edge of the urban area it is however a permanent and humane solution which politicians can be proud of.

Cats do want to be neutered:) click here