Turf wars, late night barking matches, lunging at moving vehicles, and disturbing daily life for neighborhood residents are a high priority concern for the residents of Kosovo. But could the permanent removal of these dogs inadvertently increase their population?
As a privately run NGO seeking to address the stray dog overpopulation issue, we often receive calls from the community looking to remove certain dogs from their original area due to safety concerns.
People report fearing for their families' safety, the dog's safety, or nuisance behaviors they would like to put an end to.
In this article you will find some information on how populations of strays increase, reasons why removal of a dog from an area is not a solution to the issue of overpopulation, and what you can do to help.
Main Causes for Population Growth
The growth and survival of animal populations are mainly dictated by food and shelter. In other words, food and shelter sources are both factors that play into an environment's carrying capacity, which "determines the size of the population that can exist or will be tolerated there” In areas where food is scarce and the environment is hostile, you will not find many dogs living and reproducing.
The availability of food, whether from a generous community member or other sources like garbage, contributes to the reproduction of strays. Shelter, found in places like underneath cars, near restaurants, under overpasses, and on apartment steps, is another key factor in increasing their population. It is important to note that refraining from feeding dogs is neither humane nor possible. They will find other ways to access food. The solution lies in keeping the original dogs in the neighborhood that are preventing more from coming in.
If you come across animals that haven't been sterilized, reach out to your local municipality for assistance. You can also ask them if they are able to return the dogs to the same area after sterilizing to help uphold those dominance structures to that they can prevent more dogs from showing up.
Once a dog has been sterilized and vaccinated, as indicated by their ear clips, it is best to leave the dogs be, as they act as important placeholders for the territory. One mature dog can replace the possibility of new, reproducing dogs, taking their place.
Should I Feed That Dog?
It is important to consider that feeding dogs is an act of kindness that we should conscientiously practice. An older dog that has established the dominance structure in its territory will defend the area, and it is okay to feed it minimally so that it can survive. A starved or sick dog is less likely to reproduce, and it is okay to feed it so that it can maintain its health. However, a dog that appears healthy and is unsterilized is not always a great contender for a virshlle.
Moreover, it is not good practice to leave food on the ground that the dog will not finish.
Leaving food around can be "counterproductive to animal welfare." as you cannot control what type of dog (or animal) is going to get to the food.
A veterinarian with experience in dealing with stray dogs in Malaysia, Dr. Luqman Javed, explains, "The issue with feeding strays is that they will instinctively try to reproduce when they feel like they have enough resources to do so." Therefore, it is our responsibility as residents to learn how to help manage the population in a way that aligns with the specific nature of the animals.
How CNVR Helps Strays
The Prishtina Dog Shelter functions as both a facility for adopting out stray dogs and employs the catch, neuter, vaccinate, return (CNVR) method, which has been proven to effectively reduce the population of stray dogs.
We advocate for returning dogs to their original areas as it enhances population stability and increases their chances of survival. Placing them in familiar and welcoming neighborhoods preserves their sense of security.
If you want to make a positive impact in your neighborhood and get involved, please reach out to us. You can also consult your local veterinarian or check government websites for more details on the matter.