Our project is situated in an impoverished region south of Warsaw. The typical street dogs, the ones that have already been born “in the street”, are rare. Dogs that roam around have either lost their way, been abandoned by their owners or left unattended whilst “minding their own businesses”. In every house and on every farm, there is at least one dog, if not several. These dogs are generally not castrated.
Exposed to wind and weather
However, most dogs serve their lives as chain dogs, especially on farms. Dog kennels, like we know them, are very rare. Most of the time they are meagre wooden sheds that offer no protection from wind or weather. Even these privately-owned dogs receive no medical care like vaccinations or anti-parasite treatments.
The birth rate amongst dogs is very high since they are usually not castrated. The female dog on the chain is impregnated by the neighbouring free roaming dog. Her owner will most likely kill or abandon the puppies after they have been born. On a regular basis, residents or woodland walkers draw our attention to groups of puppies.
Helping dogs since 2010
In this region as well as in many other rural areas, neutering cats and dogs is almost an unknown practice. People are sceptical, or simply cannot afford the castration of their animals. Since 2010, TSB|AWF are committed to help animals in this region. Since then, we castrated more than 6,000 cats and dogs. Most recently, also in cooperation with local communities and the city council of Starachowice. The communities also committed themselves to register and chip the dogs, which led to an end for the brutal dog catching business in this area.
Since 2017 we also involve the communities more financially in our castration programme. We could demonstrate that in the end they would also save money if they take part in the programme.
Throughout the last years, however, a new problem emerged that is due to national politics. Now, stray dogs are also collected in so-called dog boarding kennels. This means good business for the operators of the kennels, and a miserable life for the collected dogs. The communities do not check these facilities on a regular basis. Therefore, it is our task now to establish a concept for an alternative dog-friendly accommodation.
The Polish animal protection law (Article 11) obliges communities to take care of ownerless dogs and to take measures to prevent the situation of unwanted dogs, for example, through castrations. Even though the costs for castrations are comparatively low, many Polish communities spend a large amount of their money on kennels instead of addressing the problem of high birth rates.
The community Wąchock, situated in the region of Heligkreuz, was the first community we convinced of our project idea. In May 2011, we started a cooperative project with the aim to neuter as many animals as possible and to encourage other communities to join the project. Together with the community Wąchock, we worked on a framework which would make it possible to control the dog population, such as obligatory marking through micro-chips and the registration of dogs in a database. The costs are covered by the community. Additionally, the community is responsible for the publicity work, to ensure that as many dog owners can join as possible.
Contracts with four veterinary practices
Under the leadership of the community Wąchock, more communities joined the programme right in the beginning: Brody, Pawlow and Mirzec. The city council of Starachowice joined in February 2013.
Contracts were made with four veterinary practices who performed the castrations on our account.
Over 5000 animals castrated
From 2011 until today it was possible to castrate more than 5,000 animals, and therefore to prevent a lot of animal suffering.
Our Farm Animal Service (FAS) team visits farms almost daily for inspections in the region of Świętokrzyskie (Heiligkreuz). Dogs are on every farm. Most dogs are on chains, neglected, malnourished and exposed to wind and weather. TSB|AWF are working together to stop the suffering of animals in this impoverished region of Poland. We provide them with anti-parasite treatments, dog leads and doghouses. In hopeless cases we report the owners to the police.