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Moscow Considers Limiting Pets and Breeds Public Safety Debate

Moscow Considers Limiting Pets and Breeds Public Safety Debate


The long-lasting benefits of owning
animals have been proven by scientists time and time again. Pets provide company for the elderly,
make people feel needed and happy, and, of course, who can resist a
favorite critter cuddling next to you. I’ve been breeding dogs
for eight years. When my kids grew up, I really wanted
to have someone to take care of, who depended completely on me. Bodrova, who lives with her husband
and two children, keeps six dogs in her two-room apartment on
the northwest side of Moscow. There is no profit from
selling these dogs. It’s hard to even call it a business.
It simply warms my pocket from time to time. Most of the money is spent back
on the animals, so they end up paying for themselves. Sounds harmless, but some city
authorities say breeders like Bodrova are creating a safety problem. A proposed city law would limit public
housing residents to just two adult pets, plus their offspring that are younger
than three months old. This law is very appropriate because
people don’t just have a few animals in their homes. They have tens
and hundreds of animals, especially cats. My home is not privatized, which
means the government owns it. At any moment they can come,
fine me and say, “This dog needs to be put to
sleep, this one you must sell, and this one should be given away.” A purebred puppy sells for as much as
90,000 rubles (U.S.$3000), or five times the average
Russian monthly salary. Breeding animals for profit is a shady
business which is not controlled by the government. It’s very lucrative.
People understood that in the 90s, and began to explore this business. Sooner or later, such uncontrolled
breeding has to bring seriously tragic consequences. Until recently, breeds such as German
shepherds, doberman pinschers, pitbulls and wolfhounds were high in demand.
Some were purchased for protection, but most were seen as
the “it” pets to own. Before, dogs would bite arms and legs,
now they go for throats and heads. These are bites from
large, battle dogs. The statistics are that
approximately 78% of bites come from domestic dogs and even then,
from dogs with homes, not strays. Furthermore, when people do complain
to the police, they say, “Oh, you and your dogs again. We have
homeless laying around, the elderly are suffering, and you
come with your problems about dogs.” The government is caught between
those who want greater enforcement, and pet owners who say the city
isn’t animal-friendly enough. The new law, if passed, may lessen one
problem while increasing another. If this law is passed, and people are
fined, what will happen to the animals? While Novozhilova wants
Moscow to control its pets, she says the city wouldn’t be able
to handle the consequences of the proposed law. Shelters in Moscow cannot handle
large numbers of animals. Often, strays are taken to locations
outside the city and killed. These shelters are Potemkin Villages,
it’s fiction with walls; shacks. Some dogs are gathered, suddenly
there’s footage on TV that these shelters are operational. Three months later, once it’s cold out,
we get complaints that the staff is inadequate, veterinarians are
unskilled migrant workers, there’s no heating or water supply. Without adequate shelters, Moscow has
already seen a resurgence of homeless dogs, and that’s been a firestarter
for other problems. The dogs eliminate all other fauna
meaningful to people in a city environment. That means
small animals like rabbits, hedgehogs. This type of predator
behavior is very serious. Bodrova hopes this law will not pass,
but instead, people learn the discipline that pet care requires. If you’re going to be a dog owner, you
have to weigh all the pros and cons. Can I provide my dog a fulfilling life?
If you plan to get a dog, and only communicate with it when
you come home from work at night, you probably shouldn’t
be a dog owner. The city counsil is reviewing the
proposed laws, but will most likely not pass
them in their current forms. When, or if a new law is passed,
implementing it will be another battle.

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