The handling of stray dogs in Norway and Hungary : The operation of Budadogs
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Many countries in Europe have so called stray dogs,Hungary is one of them. Norway does not have a problem with stray dogs due to a well function society, strict animal welfare law and generally high standard of living, so the term “stray dog” is not in use in Norway. The aim of my thesis was to analyze the homeless dog situation in Hungary and to elaborate the possible solutions for this issue by presenting therequirements and operation a dog shelter in Norway and the activity of Budadogs rescuing stray dogs in Hungary. In Norway, besides the general provisions of the Animal Welfare Act, a single act protects the dogs in kennel or shelter, ensuring that the animals’ natural needs are taken care of. Only the animal species that in the nature goes on well together should be kenneled in the same stall. The dogs should be trained or exercised according to the maintenance level for that breed. The dog should be outside in a pen or walked every day. The cages must be big enough according to standard size, easy to clean, separated and with good ventilation and daylight. All dogs must be vaccinated and dewormed before entering the kennel facilities. The facilities must have an isolation part for unvaccinated or sick dogs. Only trained staff should work with dogs in the kennels. The animals should be seen by a veterinarian if they fall ill. There is only one dog shelter in whole Norway, called FOD gården. The foundation of rehoming of animals was founded in 1980. Since thenthey have rescued and saved dogs and cats from the whole country, but mainly from the east part of Norway. Many of the dogs are handed over to FOD gården by the owner. Most dogs at FOD gården are big male dogs around 1 year old. Some dogs are also handed over by the police in case of cruelty cases and some dogs are coming from the road authorities. FOD gården have space for 20-25 dogs at the farm, and they are keeping them until they get adopted. In Hungary nobody knows how many dogs are living a life on the streets. There are estimations saying that the number of stray dogs could be a couple of hundred thousand up to more than 2 millions. To reduce the number of dogs born and dogs in shelter different national measures must to be done. From 1st January2013 micro chipping of dogs will be obligatory. With this new law it will be easier to track the owner of the dog. Education of pet owners, castration campaigns and stricter dog breeding rules would also help in reducing the number of unwanted dogs. Because of the large number of stray dogs in Hungary the dog shelters and rescue organizations play a very important animal welfare role. Budadogs is a non-profit dog rescue organization in Hungary, run by two Norwegian veterinary students. It was founded in May 2007 and its aim is to rescue and rehome unwanted dogs in Hungary. Most of the dogs are rescued from poor and rural areas outside Budapest. All physical and medical aspect is taken care before the dog is adopted. The adopted dogs travel with plane to Norway. In accordance with Norwegian import rules the dogs are micro chipped, vaccinated, dewormed and sent to Norway with an EU passport. In addition to the obligatory regulations, Budadogs are testing all of the dogs against Babesia, Dirofilaria and Lyme disease. Almost all of the dogs are castrated. During the last 5 years Budadogs have rehomed 480 dogs, most of them to Norway. However, it has to be said that it is expensive forthe organization to keep the dogs until they are adopted and it is a long way to go for each dog both physically and medically to get ready for adoption. Hence to reduce the number of unwanted dogs the castration seems to be the most effective and only viable way, by which we can achieve our fundamental purpose earlier and there will be no need for organizations like Budadogs.