The NGO Info-center, with the partner organizations Spektar from Kriva Palanka, the Civic Initiative of Women from Sveti Nikole, the Organization of Women from Strumica, Activо from Veles and the Community Center of the Municipality of Sruga, in the period October – November 2023, carried out monitoring of measures and activities what the municipalities are undertaking to solve the problem of homeless dogs and their humane treatment.
The monitoring covered eight municipalities: Kumanovo, Veles, Strumica, Struga, Kriva Palanka, Sveti Nikole, Lozovo and Chashka, in the period 2020-2023.
Stray dogs are a pressing problem that municipalities face and have to deal with on a daily basis. The urgent need for a systemic solution is obvious, which is not yet in sight, neither at the local nor at the national level.
Municipalities do not have enough capacity and finances to effectively solve the problem. Most of them do not have a station or a shelter, nor a register of homeless dogs. Regional shelters, such as are planned in the Vardar planning region, are a possible effective solution for stationing and appropriate treatment of homeless dogs.
Catching, chipping and treatment of dogs in the municipalities are currently carried out by operators selected by public call, who constantly increase the price of the services they offer. Municipalities should establish and apply efficient and functional mechanisms for the accountability of operators, as well as mechanisms for controlling their work and the results achieved.
The number of homeless dogs in the municipalities is increasing, but the number of bitten citizens who seek compensation from the competent institutions (municipalities, public enterprises, and operators) is also increasing. Some municipalities set aside tens of thousands of euros for court costs and damages. Instead of dealing with the consequences, local authorities must be more active and engaged in using municipal money and capacities to solve the existing problem, but also for prevention.
Efficient and humane measures are needed to control the population of homeless dogs, which will provide health care and safety for both the population and the animals. Municipalities should invest in constant informative and educational activities to raise awareness among citizens about responsible ownership, about the importance of registration, sterilization and vaccination of domestic dogs, about not abandoning pets, as well as about the need for humane treatment and housing of street dogs. For this purpose, strengthened cooperation between municipalities, hospitals, operators and activists for the protection of animal rights is necessary.
This monitoring was conducted within the project “Active citizens and participatory democracy at the local level”, supported by the International Centre Olof Palme from Sweden.