Wednesday, April 30, 2003

Stray Dogs in Kosovo

This month, I gave a speech on Stray Dogs in Kosovo because it has been and is continuing to be a problem all around Kosovo.  There are some 50,000 stray dogs in Kosovo and each year, the number will continue to jump unless we do something about it.  I myself have taken two litters of puppies born underneath the containers of Mission HQ to the Kosovo Society for the Protection of Animals (KAPS).

Monique Fienberg founded KAPS and the animal shelter is nicknamed Monique�s Puppy Centre. The center is located near Pristina in one of the outlying villages.  KAPS takes in stray dogs and then later re-introduces them into homes and even one very special dog to the UN compound (Missy is the resident UNMIK HQ dog that everyone loves.)

Females are sterilized and sent back onto the street. Male dogs are attracted to the female dogs and are less likely to fight amongst themselves for her attention. Purebred dogs known for aggression are not repatriated but put to sleep.

KAPS has opened a shelter and is offering dogs for adoption. Potential owners are interviewed but already two dogs were taken back due to neglect. Monique would like to have a more active interview process where owners are visited after 6 months of ownership to check the suitability of the owners but this will take time and dedication on the part of the local and international population.

Shooting of dogs by KFOR has created a problem more serious than before
  • Children Tramatized by witness of death of their pet
  • Friendly dogs killed first
  • W/out friendly dogs, new generations do not learn that behavior
  • KFOR killed 7 of 9 �re-patriated� dogs in Pristina
  • Normal society does not shoot dogs at 6pm on the main street of its capital

In January 2003 in Istok, a 7 yr old boy was killed by a pack of dogs on his way to school. Adults tried to intervene but were unable to assist. Boy died from injuries.

Illegal dog fighting is becoming a more serious and is a problem in Kosovo. 16-25 year old men see pets as a status symbol and typically purchase dogs known for aggression. There are 6-8 fighting cells for dog fighting and gambling and it is believed to be tied to mafia. While some police officers have expressed an interest in stopping the illegal dog fighting the police as a whole have not.