July 17, 2023

Paws & Laws


Paws & Laws
Stray kittens. Noppon Meenuch, Unsplash.

The State Duma imposed a ban on stray dogs and cats — granting regions the autonomy to determine how they will deal with such “homeless” animals.

An amendment to Article 13 of Federal Law No. 498, also known as "On the Responsible Treatment of Animals," included a ban on stray animals and their "self-walking" activities. The amended law now strictly prohibits the unrestricted and unaccompanied movement of animals in various public spaces, with the exception of designated areas permitted by local authorities for animal exercise. Notably, under the current version of the Responsible Animal Care Act, pets are prohibited from accessing roadways, elevators, apartment building yards, as well as children's and sports fields.

The State Duma claims their primary objective is to "protect people from attacks" from stray dogs. However, their motivation has sparked opposition from animal rights activists, who took to the streets near the State Duma to express their concerns. The activists said they fear the Duma's decision may pave the way for the legalization of euthanasia for homeless animals across different regions. 

Following the public outcry, the State Duma received approximately 25,000 appeals from concerned citizens expressing their opposition to the proposed amendments. In response, Russia has implemented an OSVV program (trapping, sterilization, vaccination, and return to the streets) as a means of addressing the issue. However, the legal amendments will give regional authorities the option to explore alternative approaches, which could potentially include the implementation of so-called "humane euthanasia."

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