Death Conveyor?

The changes introduced by the new administration of the organization which deals with capturing and keeping stray animals are becoming more and more frightening.

«Е» has already written about the threat which was looming over the inmates of «Fauna Goroda» last week. As it transpired, it was only the first sign of the approaching disaster.

First, the dogs that had been sterilized and needed special care were shifted to the cold outdoor cages. Then, the new director flatly prohibited sterilization of the inmates at «Fauna Goroda», even if carried out at the volunteers’ expense.

«All European associations for animal protection have proven that sterilization is a humane and a more effective method of regulating the number of stray animals. By sterilizing one stray dog or cat we are decreasing the number of stray animals at a rate of 20 per year! The procedure under consideration is less expensive than the cost of keeping the animal and the ensuing euthanasia», – say the volunteers, puzzled.

It was decided to limit the volunteers’ activities both in terms of their number (the number of volunteers that are allowed to take care of the animals was reduced) and in terms of time spent at «Fauna»: from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. «Each volunteer has to stick to the previously drawn up schedule and come only at a particular time allocated for them personally», – volunteers were told on Friday by a representative of Housing Maintenance and Utilities Board, which supervises the work of «Fauna Goroda». All the objections were met with the answer: «If you don’t like it – well, you don’t have to come».

Apart from this, the volunteers were prohibited to bring food and medicine for the pets. They were told that if they wanted to help their charges they could simply transfer money into the organization’s account. Bearing in mind that «Fauna» often fails to buy enough animal food through lack of money, their refusal to accept additional help looks odd indeed.

In accordance with the plans of the organization’s administration, the administrator of «Fauna Goroda», who coordinates the process of finding old owners or searching for new owners for the lost pets, will now work from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays only.

«The majority of visitors that want to take a cat or a dog come to «Fauna» in the evening or on weekends, – says the administrator. – Bearing in mind that animals are not given out from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. either, their chances to find a caring owner and thus be saved from euthanasia are decreasing dramatically».

The new staff list has no room for animal care employees at «Fauna» – only one employee was left for this purpose. It is also being planned to make the position of the Deputy Director for Animal Protection redundant.

«I have been told that now I will be a Deputy Director in charge of absolutely different things, – Nataliya Belianova, who currently fills in this position, told «Е». – «Actually, it means to put an end to all animal protection activities completely and turn «Fauna Goroda» into a death conveyor which works according to the «capture – euthanasia» principle. It took us one year and a half to gradually, step by step, move towards the humanization of this system, and now this huge piece of work is being crossed out».

On Friday, the director informed the volunteers and the organization employees about the disinfection, scheduled next Wednesday, and made arrangements that all the animals that had spent more than 5 days at «Fauna» would have been put to sleep by that time. Earlier, kind-hearted people used to take animals away for the period of disinfection. «This time no animal that has exceeded the five-day period will come back to «Fauna Goroda»!» – declared the director. Right now, more than 60 dogs and 30 cats are facing euthanasia.

Commentaries with regard to case

«Е» has asked Director of Animal Control Organization «Fauna Goroda» Alexander Tamashevsky to answer some questions that trouble the general public:

– As the head of this organization, I’m assuring you that we are not facing any problems. The enterprise is functioning smoothly. No one gave any orders to free the rooms. All the animals are in their places. The volunteers continue working. Do you have any further questions?

– But it is the volunteers, and they number several dozens, by the way, who claim that you have made an arrangement for disinfection on Wednesday, January 28, having declared that no animal that has exceeded the five-day period will be returned to its place. This piece of information has been confirmed by the administrators of your enterprise as well.

– I have no idea, what they told you. All this is a lie. I made no arrangement of the kind. I claim, in a responsible manner, that after the disinfection is completed all the animals will return to their places.

– You allege that all the animals are in their places. But the inmates of the room for sterilized dogs have been shifted to outdoor cages. It can be dangerous for their health, which has not yet been restored after the operation.

– According to our enterprises’ regulations, we don’t sterilize animals. We have never been engaged in this kind of activity. To put it mildly, Deputy Director for Animal Protection has proven to be a little bit too self-dependent. She makes arrangements for the dogs to be operated on somewhere else, and then she wants these dogs to be kept by our organization. But we don’t have to keep them. Just think, she is a public officer. She has evinced initiative which is beyond authorized activities of our organization. Sterilization is not provided by our enterprises’ regulations, thus, keeping sterilized animals is not provided either. We won’t allow this to happen anymore.

– But «Fauna Goroda» has signed an official contract with a veterinary clinic regarding sterilization.

– We have never taken this trouble onto ourselves – we have never signed such contracts. Call any veterinary service and they will tell you that sterilization is carried out only at the animal owner’s expense. For the animals that don’t have an owner rendering such a service is out of the question.

– Are you familiar with «Provision about capture, shooting, temporary keeping and euthanasia of stray animals in the Republic of Belarus»?

– So far… I have looked it through.

– Have you paid attention to Clause 25 of this document?

– I haven’t read it so far. This is only my fifth day in office.

– According to Clause 25, organizations are to prevent the reproduction of animals kept at temporary shelters, they are to make arrangements for the sterilization of animals.

– We have never practiced this. I’m telling you. Since the organization was founded sterilization has never been carried out, and will never be.

– Why don’t you let the volunteers sterilize the animals at their own expense?

– What should be the reasons for my admitting them here after an operation? And why should these volunteers come to a state-owned enterprise and give instructions to a public officer?

– In other words, you are planning to limit the access of volunteers to «Fauna»?

– So far, we are not planning to place any restrictions on volunteers. But this issue is still under consideration… We will look into this matter from the legal point of view. It is a question of safety arrangements. Our employees that are in charge of cleaning the building, have an insurance, security safeguards. The volunteers have nothing of the kind. Supposing you are a volunteer. You have taken a dog for a walk. Supposing something happens to you – let’s say, the dog bites you... Who will be responsible for this? It is great responsibility. On the territory of whose enterprise has the accident taken place and why have I admitted you to the territory of the enterprise?

– In other words, in order to get access to the animals the volunteers will have to fill a package of documents?

– What package? Legally, they cannot process any documents. They are individual persons. I know no list of documents of the kind. How can this be legalized if there is no regulatory document?

– Why isn’t there an animal protector position in the new staff list drawn by you?

– And why should you be interested in it? I am the head of the organization. Why should you be asking questions and why have you come here at all? Are there any animals here? Yes, there are. The rest of the issues are none of your business. This is nonpublic information…

Source: "Daily", Anastasia DOROFEEVA
/ January 26, 2009 /

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