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bid to wipe out killing of stray dogs

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(16 Mar 2017) LEADIN: In a triumph for animal activists, stray dogs in Tehran are no longer being shot and killed to get them off the streets. The Iranian capital has set up a hospice programme which takes in stray dogs and offers medical and social care. STORYLINEStraying onto dirt roads of far south western Tehran foraging for food, these dogs do not fear their most dangerous predator anymore: humans.On a cold morning of one the last days of winter, a municipality worker shoots a napping homeless dog, but with non-lethal bullets.Their practice was very different less than two years ago. The easiest way to deal with stray animals used to be shooting them to death.Municipality authorities now claim that not a single dog is shot. In 2015, a video showing the dogs dying while moaning in agony went rapidly viral sparking widespread outrage and prompting animal rights activists as well as celebrities to protest.An animal activist who filmed it in the city of Shiraz, central Iran claimed that the private contractors were paid about $4 for each dog they killed.However, the local authorities denied having any role in the incident.Now in a major shift, stray dogs are being treated in a far more civil manner: urban animal control overseen by Tehran's municipality catch them alive, take them to foster homes, neuter them and release them again.Private contractors were invited to bid for the urban animal control programme and running of the hospice.Qualified bidders were then selected to move forward with the plan.Firearms were replaced with blowpipes and anaesthetic darts.Every morning urban animal control vehicles set off for the dog hunt. Their destination is decided based on either reports by citizens or places where population of the animals is conspicuously big. They try to catch the animals as humanely as possible. The staff is well trained and advised not to use force while capturing dogs.Their hunting tools are blowpipes or guns armed with dart syringes filled with anaesthetic drugs.District 18 of Tehran, famous for its farmlands, brick furnace towers, junkyards and factories, is one of the biggest territories of stray dogs.Einollah Ardalani owns a garage in this area. He is a proponent of controlling stray dogs' population humanely. "This area has a countless number of dogs and sometimes they pass by in hordes. I think it would be great if these dogs can be collected in a managed way so that neither dogs are harmed nor citizens." After shooting the dogs with darts, they are placed in the air-conditioned and heated rear compartment of the vehicles. There is even one smaller compartment for puppies to protect them from bigger canines while being contained.No firm figures are available on the number of stray dogs in Tehran but this team catches 30 to 40 dogs daily on average.Head of the project and Director of Tehran Municipality's Urban Animal Control Department, Hassan Heidari says the attitude toward stray dogs has completely changed."From a moral and Islamic point of view, we are not allowed to treat these animals violently. Observance of animal rights was another motive that made us stop killing dogs. We are now catching them alive despite its costs and troubles. Today, with God's grace, we have accomplished a very useful and pleasant achievement."But he adds that controlling urban animals population to avoid potential disease transmission between humans and dogs was still inevitable.Heidari describes the shelter as a very "useful" and "pleasant" experience."I completely assure you that Tehran municipality does not have even one firearm or one bullet. The municipality only uses anaesthetic weapons and numbing darts to catch dogs that do not have an owner." he says.You can license this story through AP Archive: http://www.aparchive.com/metadata/you... Find out more about AP Archive: http://www.aparchive.com/HowWeWork


AP Archive 4085851 56bdcb759fdde8fbc2c2e0d72cbb7f6f HZ Iran Dogs Iran Middle East Tehran Animals Social affairs Lifestyle Health
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