Stray Dogs – Güneri Cıvaoğlu

A pit bull dog biting a 4-year-old girl in Gaziantep again raised a serious issue.

“Street dogs…”

With President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s “Call to Municipalities to Duty” – the long-running debate – erupted again.

On the one hand, the horror of the thousands and tens of thousands of dogs that really roam in packs.

On the other hand, awareness of the protection of stray animals, which received the status of “sensitive goods” rather than “goods”, with the Treaty of Lisbon (2007).


We have lived in our house with our dogs for 50 years.

They are part of the family.

I developed feelings of empathy with dogs and cats on the street.

Against this…

Like most of us, I have been attacked from time to time by packs of stray dogs.

I was bitten.

I was treated for the rabies vaccine.


In no civilized country in the world do such herds of stray dogs roam.

So the “problem” needs to be solved.


Allow me to reflect on my memory of a trip to America…

As I was en route from the Washington airport to the city, a residential complex billboard caught my eye.

There were pictures of rabbits, squirrels and birds on it.

Underneath it was written “Your new neighbours”.

It was promoting a site where houses were surrounded by greenery, squirrels and rabbits roamed freely, and birdsong rang out.

I remember 48 hours ago.

At around 7am, I was taking a “rhythmic walk” along the coast from Yeniköy to Tarabya for morning exercise.

Suddenly I realized that 4-5 dogs were running towards me.

I moved away.

Another large pack of dogs was chasing them, foaming at the mouth, barking.

They had overturned the garbage can a short distance away.

Waste from fish restaurants was strewn about.

When I got home I wrote in the paper that the neighbors there were “squirrels, bunnies, birds” and “our neighbors are gangs of stray dogs”.

They wouldn’t even wear the sultan

In 1867, Mark Twain wrote his observations of dogs in Istanbul:

“Dogs are sleeping on the streets all over the city. Even if the sultan passes, they will not move.

I got this line from the Washington Post. (March 18, 2021)

Here are a few paragraphs from that newspaper article highlighting the existence of tens of thousands of stray dogs in Istanbul over the centuries:

Istanbul’s “stray dogs” are documented in both 19th-century lithographs and 21st-century videos.

Today, he can be seen waiting patiently to cross the street at green lights, hitchhiking on the Bosphorus, marching with protesters, staying out of cafe terraces and attracting attention!..

Elizabeth Lo has made a documentary about “her parents’ Istanbul history” through the eyes of three charismatic dogs named “olive, evil eye, eagle”.

There are between 400,000 and 600,000 stray dogs in Istanbul.

Repeatedly, attempts have been made to eradicate or destroy Istanbul’s dog population.

The most tragic is the deportation of 80,000 dogs to Sivriada in 1910.

It has been said for generations that dogs die slowly and painfully on a rocky desert island without food or water, and their howls cross the Sea of ​​Marmara and reach the mainland.

But the dog population still increased and survived to the present day.

Containers of food and water are left in hundreds of places across the city.

They are fed by the people of Istanbul.

stray dogs


There are interesting documents in historical sources from the Ottoman period.

To know…

– Dogs guarded the quarters.

– Since there were no municipal cleaning services, they ate the garbage.

– They barked to warn people when there were fires.

But it wasn’t just a functional relationship.

Feeding the dogs and caring for them was considered a good deed for the people.


And a question…

Why are there no stray dogs and cats in Europe and America?

French, Germans, British, Americans…

Don’t they like cats and dogs?

Completely the opposite.

There are 80 million companion dogs in France.

Similar figures in other countries.


Leaving a pet on the street is “equivalent to the crime of torture…”

Fine up to 30,000 euros or imprisonment up to 2 years in France.

Abuse is defined as a “violent crime”.

Heavy fines or 2-3 years in prison…

Legal regulations regarding animal health, nutrition and habitat apply.

The penalty for perversion of “raping an animal” is 2 years in prison and 15 thousand euros…

In the Netherlands there is a hotline for animal police complaints.

400 animal police are working.

This number rises to 800.

In addition to sanctions such as penalties in France, restrictions such as public service obligation and ban on having a pet for one year have been introduced.

In Belgium, the penalty for cruelty to animals has been increased to 100,000 euros.

In addition, up to 2 years in prison…

In the most serious cases, the fine increases to 300,000 euros.

3 years in prison in Germany.

In case of ill-treatment, torture and rape, up to 3 years in prison and a fine of up to 25,000 euros.

In Spain, in addition to the same penalties, it is mandatory to walk the animal for at least 20 minutes every 6 hours.

Those who fail to do so are fined between 100 and 400 euros.

stray dogs


All dogs and other stray animals are taken to “animal protection shelters”.

These shelters are built and managed by non-governmental organizations, not by the municipality.

Of course, it’s not 5 stars, but there are enough vets and caregivers.

And from there, we study whether your home and your income are suitable for adopting animals.

After the delivery of the animal, an inspection is carried out for a year.


For a solution, the “methods of those who succeeded” should be sought.

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