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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

How many homeless animals are there in Poland? Appalling data

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In Poland, nearly one million dogs and cats are homeless – say experts who conducted a study on animal welfare in 20 countries, The State of Pet Homelessness Project. The study also shows that only 33 percent of dog owners in Poland have neutered their pets, while among cat owners this percentage is 57 percent.

The study, which was conducted by a global coalition of animal welfare experts in 20 countries around the world (from five continents), showed that there are 12.34 million dogs and cats in Poland, of which 8 percent, or approximately 950,000, are homeless. Of the total number of homeless animals, nearly 92.5 thousand dogs and 32.5 thousand cats live in shelters, and 75 thousand dogs and 750 thousand cats live on the streets.

READ: Tied to a bench, next to a bag with a layette

The study results approximately confirm activists' earlier estimates of the number of homeless dogs and cats in Poland. They talked about a million.

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High percentage of homeless animals in the world

In the 20 countries covered by the study, the total number of homeless animals was estimated at 362 million (155 million dogs and 207 million cats). The average percentage of homeless animals was estimated at 35 percent. The highest homelessness was found in Indonesia – 76 percent, in India and in Greece – 69 percent each, in China – 52 percent, Turkey 48 percent and on Philippines – 41 percent.

Although it is clearly lower in Poland than in the countries mentioned above, actions are necessary to completely eliminate homelessness and the suffering of animals accompanying humans – experts say.

– In numbers, there are almost 950,000 homeless dogs and cats, of which about 125,000 are in shelters and about 825,000 are deprived of any care. That is why it is so important that the actions indicated in the report are consistently implemented – said veterinarian Małgorzata Głowacka, a scientific expert. Mars Poland, the initiator of the global study and report.

Hundreds of thousands of homeless animals in Polandkonoplizkaya/AdobeStock

How to fight homelessness of dogs and cats

As she emphasized, the report identified three key areas for reducing the problem of homelessness of dogs and cats. These are: maintaining permanent homes for dogs and cats, providing appropriate care and preventing unplanned reproduction of animals.

– The most important actions that should be taken are, first of all, education on responsible adoption and care of pets and the promotion of castration procedures in non-breeding animals, including programs at the municipal level co-financing such procedures – said Głowacka.

– It is also very important to create friendly legislation and social rules that make it easier for animal guardians to function with their animals and support homeless dogs and cats, including clear instructions on how to deal with homeless animals – she explained.

In her opinion, another important factor is microchipping animals pets and creating one national database for registering chip numbers along with the data of dog and cat guardians.

The latest report shows, among others: that only 33 percent of dog owners in Poland have neutered their pet, and among cat owners this percentage is 57 percent. Only 11 percent of dog owners and 10 percent of cat owners adopted a pet from a shelter.

Appeals for an amendment to the Animal Rights Protection Act

At the protest organized on Thursday in front of the Sejm by the “Karuna – People for Animals” Foundation and the Coalition to Fight Animal Homelessness, activists and MPs of the Poland 2050 – Third Way Parliamentary Club emphasized that the only effective method leading to the elimination of homelessness of dogs and cats in Poland will be a new act that will introduce the obligation of microchipping and castration/sterilization. Poland 2050 will submit a parliamentary draft of such an act by the end of May 2024.

The day before, on Wednesday, May 22, lawyers and activists of non-governmental organizations and a group of MPs from the Civic Coalition and the Left presented the assumptions of a citizens' project amending the existing Act on the protection of animal rights.

According to the amendment, there would be a ban on keeping animals on a permanent tether, an obligation to microchip and sterilize animals not intended for breeding, a register of pet breeding would be created, and the requirements for breeders would be tightened, so as to limit the so-called “pseudo-breeding” and penalties for animal cruelty would be tightened, up to eight years in prison.

Veterinarian Dorota Sumińska assessed that a new act must be created because the current one is ineffective and does not solve any problem related to homelessness of companion animals. It only maintains the status quo. In her opinion, “over the last 15 years, the Parliamentary Group of Animal Friends has done nothing to change this.”

Together with Mars, experts from organizations caring for the welfare of pets took part in the study of pet homelessness: Humane Society International, Alliance for Contraception in Cats & Dogs, International Partnership for Dogs and the International Companion Animal Management Coalition.

Main photo source: konoplizkaya/AdobeStock



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