Owners Abandon ‘Dangerous’ Dogs Before Turkey Ban

As the Jan. 14 deadline approaches for owners of “dangerous” dog breeds to register their pets, cases of dog abandonment are on the rise. Pet dogs that are not registered and sterilized will be removed from owners as per policy. Animal lovers say more and more dog owners have started leaving them in secluded places in an attempt to avoid the bureaucratic process.

In Istanbul, sightings of dogs of dangerous breeds, from pit bulls to Japanese Tosa and Dogo Argentino, are increasingly common on roadsides and in forests. Nilgül Sayar, who runs a local animal lover’s association in the Göktürk district, says he saw abandoned animals earlier, but their numbers increased dramatically after the new dog breed regulations came into effect in early December. .

“Me and other members of the associations used to find stranded animals here, but this month it has been an almost daily occasion,” she told Demirören news agency ( DHA) while caring for a Dogo Argentino whom she found abandoned in a forest area.

Violating the regulations is punishable by fines, which some homeowners consider to be an additional cost. Along with Göktürk, Çatalca, a remote neighborhood on the European side of Istanbul, sees more abandoned dogs in rural areas of the neighborhood. “We have found ten dogs around here over the past four days,” says Ibrahim Karataş, a villager from Çatalca. “I recently saw someone drive up here and throw a dog. The dog ran after the car but took off at full speed, ”he said.

“Dangerous breeds” grabbed the headlines this month after multiple pit bull attacks injured children across the country. The sale, importation and possession of pit bulls and other dogs known to be aggressive is already prohibited, but the market is thriving illegally, with sales made online to dodge regulations.

Sayar argues that mandatory sterilization for dangerous breeds was something “which means financial loss” for dog owners. She says some dog owners “organize dog fights” or “breed more dogs” to sell. “They won’t be able to make money with them, so they abandon them,” she said.

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