"Tribunal" for the stray dogs in Kyiv

Author : Olena Holubyeva

Source : 112 Ukraine

After almost 15 years of global experiments with humane approach the city authorities have recognized the need of killing the neglected homeless animals
09:58, 11 January 2016

The office of "Center for Animal Identification" organization is located in a dark two-storey building in Kyiv. This Center and one more shelter are the main tools of the capital’s authorities in solving the problems of homeless animals. The Center for Animal Identification is now headed by the deputy head of the department of ecology (Kyiv administration) Olena Sibileva.

Office makes a painful impression: empty corridors, the hall, a narrow room with three tables piled high with folders, and three women working with those papers. The staff consists of these three women, who have left after the wave of firing. Sibileva is now the main woman in the Center, and in a shelter as well. Sibileva is responsible for the reform, which is expected to improve the situation with the homeless dogs. In the framework of the reform, the Center, the shelter, and the veterinary clinic to be attached to the city hospital of veterinary medicine. Besides it, the dogs to be transferred to a new shelter of 3 hectares.
Sibileva does not look as a typical official. The volunteers has told a story about their boss: once she was rescuing a homeless dog, which was run over by a car. And when Sibileva called the service of the Center (which she is heading) in order to help with curing the animal, she was refused.

"Today, we do not have a service that would provide assistance to the homeless dogs, which need some help. Now we are creating new "Zoopatrul" service, which will provide round the clock assistance to homeless dogs and solve other problems connected with these kind of animals," says Sibileva.

Kyiv authorities showed their interest to the Center for Animal Identification and the shelter in January 2015. Kyiv Mayor Klitschko has called this place “Auschwitz for dogs”. “There are about 300 homeless dogs in this shelter. It is the old building, which actually looks like a rubbish dump. The condition in which these dogs are kept do not follow any standards. More than 70 people work here. I just cannot understand what so these people do on their workplaces,” he noted. The Mayor fired the director of the Center and the director of the shelter as well.

January 15, the head of the department of urban development (Kyiv administration) Dmytro Belotserkovets wrote on his Facebook “Today I’ve attended the Center for Animal Identification. Almost 100 thousand USD are annually allocated to fund this facility. In fact, there were only three workers and the director on their workplace at the moment... Also there are some ten inspectors allover the capital city, who spend one hour per day on their workplace”.

The authorities were deeply concerned that the problem have stuck at a dead point and money from the city budget does not solve the challenge. As a result, the number of workers of the shelter and of the Center was declined. Well, these steps have not solved the problem of the homeless dogs in the Kyiv streets, which has amounted to 20-25 thousand.

The new place for the homeless dogs should be four times bigger than the previous one. But there is no need to place all the animals into the shelter. The scheme works in another format: the animal is caught, sterilized, and let free. Part of the homeless dogs (nearly 20%) still need to be kept in the shelters because of their aggressiveness.

The process of killing (euthanasia) in Kyiv is not applicable even for those dogs that bite their owners, have aggressive behavior or some mental disabilities.

"We apply euthanasia only in hospitals, only according to the recommendations of veterinarians. The fourth degree of cancer or diseases incompatible with life," said Sibileva.

Euthanasia is not prohibited by the law. It is "not implemented" in Kyiv. For example, in Kharkiv, any dog that was caught and did not find its family within 30 days, is subjected to humane euthanasia.

Sibileva states that such a procedure should be used in Kyiv, because feeding the dangerous and aggressive animals requires some additional money from the budget. She suggests that there should be a special body of animal psychologist, who would decide which of the animals should be killed.

Some fifteen years ago, the Kyiv authorities were not afraid of any resonance or killings of stray dogs. There was a special service which had been working on its own schedule. Dogs were caught and killed: those who were born and were able to survive on the street, and those who were thrown out the hosts, and along with those who were simply lost. It had been happening since journalist from Geneva Tamara Tarnavska came to Kyiv. She took a video through a fence, when the special people killed the stray dogs with sticks. For this purpose, they also had a pool in which animals were killed with the electricity. These facts have caused a great resonance in Ukraine and abroad, and the authorities were forced to stop these atrocities.

Journalist Tarnavska has established a public organization “SOS” and promised to solve the problem of stray dogs, as in all "civilized Europe": to catch, sterilize, and then return to the place of their usual habitat. Some of them planned to organize in the family. And, perhaps, everything would work properly, but lack of resources created a real problem. That is why the city services were forced to take back the initiative, and established Center for Animal Identification and the shelter.


To establish a new place for homeless dogs in Kyiv requires some 1.7 mln USD. There are money only for project documentation, part of the foundation of a new building, and putting fence. Sibileva says that it must be a benefactor who would donate such a huge amount for the homeless animals. And building the special facilities is not enough, the dogs need to be feed every day. For example, in the shelter, where 250 dogs are held, 80 kg of groats (wheat, barley) and 160 kg of meat are needed. And the new shelter would contain four times more animals. And it is necessary not only to feed but also to remove waste products, to buy drugs, vaccines, anesthesia and antibiotics for sterilization, tools for operations. And the authorities do not increase the financing. In such circumstances, there is no opportunity to widen the staff. Zoopatrul will include four brigades of those who will catch the dogs. It means that the employees will be forces to make more work for the same low salaries. That is why, in these terms, the most effective step would be “the tribunal”. Or dog hunters.

The reaction for the “humanism” of Kyiv authorities was not really expectable: the number of dog hunters has increased rapidly. There is no ways to call the dog hunter to the criminal prosecution, Sibileva notes. “The only killer of dogs who had to be prosecuted, is not in jail now. Recently we have met during the same program on TV. We have quarreled a lot, and in the ether of the show the presenter shook his hand," she added.

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