Dogmatic Solution: Yerevan curs are being curtailed in dramatic fashion

Street dogs on the outskirts of Yerevan are wearing red ties and going tail-less.

Neither fashion is the dogs’ choice. It is, rather, the result of a campaign to rid the capital of so many curs – owning the streets at night and disturbing sleep in the wee hours.

The strays are caught, examined for disease, treated, sterilized – and, so to speak – detailed. Why are tails cut? Proof of a job well-done.

The de-dogging program is implemented by Unigraph-X company, contracted after a bid by the RA Public Procurement Agency to un-do a serious health problem that has existed in varying degree of annoyance and danger since independence. (Among other remedies over the years, special animal control hunters have been sent into the night to shoot the dogs. They cut off the tails as proof of their work, for which they were paid a dollar or so per tail.)

Lilit Grigoryan, deputy press secretary of Unigraph-X told ArmeniaNow that they register 30-35 calls from citizens and district administrations a day.

“Our specialists arrive to the corresponding addresses given us by our citizens or district administrations, and they hunt those dogs. Later the animals are taken to our company’s specialized clinic, where they are carefully examined, and if some diseases are found, they are cured. Dogs are being vaccinated and sterilized. Later the dogs are set free in different outskirts of Yerevan,” says Grigoryan.

The company’s operation is in Nor Artamet village, Kotayk Province and according to the spokeswoman, no other such clinic exists in the South Caucasus. It has about 29 staff.

Dogs that are diseased beyond cure, or that are aggressive, are euthanized. The less harmful are “relocated” – minus their ability to reproduce.

(A sociological survey found that 60 percent of Yerevan’s citizens are for killing stray dogs; 40 percent are for sterilization.)

Stray dogs are a common feature around dumpsters throughout the city. Timid by day, they run in packs at night and pose a threat to anyone venturing onto their turf. And according to the specialist, word is out in Canineville that the capital holds abundant doggie treats.

“Yerevan is very attractive for stray animals, since there are lots of remnants left at the public catering places. This is the reason why a great number of stray dogs arrive in Yerevan from the nearby provinces,” says Grigoryan.

According to Grigoryan, Unigraph-X sterilized some 16,000 strays in 2006-2008. As Grigoryan explains the number of stray dogs is still huge because of the dogs arriving in Yerevan from nearby provinces.

In the first two months of this year 1,391 stray dogs have already been sterilized and 2,200 – euthanized.

Grigoryan says the sharp increase in cases is due to more residents learning of their service.

The specialists of the Company assure that it is impossible to estimate the number of strays.

“Simply there is no such a methodology. We even do not have data about the dogs kept as pets, because we do not have a law on animals,” says Grigoryan.

The Yerevan Municipality allots the funds due to the number of dog tails presented by the Company. Once the bounty is determined, the tails are buried in a city dump.

According to Grigoryan, about 2,400 drams ($7) is needed to euthanize an animal; in case of sterilizing - 11,500 drams ($31) is assigned for female and 8,800 drams ($24) – for male dogs.

The specialists of the company state that the results of sterilizing stray animals will be evident only in a few years.

“As we estimate, about five years later there would be no need to euthanize animals any more. We will be busy with sterilizing them only. It means that our aim would be to provide our city with a concrete optimal number of stray animals and not their entire liquidation,” says Grigoryan.