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A dog has no hands – how to teach owners to clean up after their pets – ExpertRU

The problem of uncontrolled dog walking is acute for large Russian cities. Unfortunately, there are still very few responsible owners who clean up after their pets “traces” of walks, so most of the dog feces remain as “decorations” of lawns. And often such “mines” can be found on paths, in parks and even on playgrounds.

The issue of humane and at the same time reasonable keeping of pets in Russia is so relevant that the head of the country, Vladimir Putin, last year approved the List of instructions based on the results of checking the implementation of legislation and decisions of the President of the Russian Federation on the formation of a responsible attitude towards animals in society. As part of the execution of these instructions, the Ministry of Agriculture has prepared a bill regulating their labeling, which has already been adopted by the State Duma in the first reading. Author “20 ideas for the development of Russia» Dmitry Davydov believes that the most effective and efficient tool for this will be the introduction of a system of mandatory genetic passports (licenses) for all dogs tied to their owners in order to identify them by DNA, and therefore suggests that the ministry adopt just such an innovative method .

Wrestling on paper

It would seem that modern Russian legislation provides for the obligation of the owner of the dog to clean up the products of its vital activity in a timely manner. However, in practice in our country, the norm, unfortunately, exists only on paper. The amount of fines for violations is set by the regions themselves. Sanctions even in Moscow, where, as a rule, penalties for administrative offenses are higher, reach two thousand rubles. Perhaps this measure would make many “dog lovers” think, but a well-functioning mechanism for bringing to responsibility simply does not exist. It is necessary to catch the offender “at the scene of the crime”, carefully record everything in order to prove his guilt, and then issue a fine. You can’t put a policeman on every lawn, and the institution of public inspectors in the field of animal treatment is still being formed. And it is unlikely that they will also be enough to keep track of all the owners and their pets. The prospect of law enforcement investigations of statements from citizens also looks doubtful.

Danger underfoot

Doctors have long established that, in addition to the aesthetic component and unpleasant odors, dog excrement is a real health hazard. And, above all, children. For example, it spreads through faeces toxocariasis – a parasitic disease caused by the helminth toxocara, which is unusual for humans, or in other words, canine roundworm, the larva of which affects the internal organs and eyes. Specialists claimthat up to 40% of children’s sandboxes are infected with toxocar eggs. Back in 2020, the experts counted There are more than 22 million domestic dogs in Russia, and, judging by the trend, their number is steadily growing. According to experts, the total weight of “surprises” that pets leave on the streets of the country approaching to a million tons.

In many countries of the world, in addition to severe penalties for such violations, there are sets of measures to identify those who committed them. And one of the leaders in terms of efficiency is the use of DNA technologies. Such methods are already actively used in Canada, Great Britain, Spain and Italy. Recently, the authorities of Israeli Tel Aviv passed a law obliging the license to own a dog to include the animal’s DNA profile. Now, in each case of pollution of the streets of the city, it becomes possible to accurately identify its culprit and send him a fine.

It was this world experience that Dmitry Davydov proposed to adopt in Russia. “We propose in Russia to introduce a system of mandatory genetic passports (licenses) for all dogs tied to owners in order to identify them by DNA. We propose to carry out registration by state bodies in cooperation with private laboratories on a paid basis within two years after the publication of the relevant federal law, ”says the text of his initiative, which was sent to the relevant state authorities.

The authorities are working

Evgenia Beloshapka, Deputy Director of the Department of Veterinary Medicine of the Ministry of Agriculture of the Russian Federation, in her response to Dmitry Davydov’s appeal, said that the Ministry of Agriculture had developed a draft federal law aimed at regulating relations related to the marking and registration of animals. According to the bill, the veterinary rules approved by the Ministry of Agriculture will establish the procedure for labeling, the types and properties of the means used for it, the list of information necessary for recording animals, and a number of other points. And the procedure for the registration of animals, the list of animal species subject to labeling and accounting, as well as the timing of the registration of animals will be established by the Government of the Russian Federation.

The bill is currently located under consideration by the State Duma of the Russian Federation. “The expected registration of animals will solve many problems related to keeping them, controlling the responsibility of the owners, and regulating the number of homeless individuals. Since, in view of the expected adoption of the law, the Ministry of Agriculture is working out or will be working out the rules for marking different types of animals, I propose to pay attention to the modern method of marking – by DNA. If this method is introduced during the individual registration of dogs, it will solve the problem of environmental pollution with dog feces,” Dmitry Davydov commented on the response of the Ministry of Agriculture.

In this regard, the author of the initiative asks the Ministry of Agriculture to consider the possibility of registering dogs with the help of DNA technology. “In parallel, after the adoption of the above law, I ask you to take the initiative to impose a large fine on dog owners if a case of contamination of the street and public places with feces is detected through a DNA test, as well as a fine for walking a dog in a public place without proper registration. Since I propose that the costs of registration be borne by the owners themselves, and that the cost of DNA testing of feces be covered by fines, the state will not incur direct costs for the above activities. On the contrary, these measures may provide funds to improve the infrastructure for walking dogs in cities,” he added.

Expert opinion

President of the Russian Cynological Federation Vladimir Golubev also supports the idea ofthat a responsible attitude towards animals should become part of the culture of Russian society. “For this, it is necessary to actively develop educational and outreach activities. in different formats and at different levels; to explain to dog breeders that dog excrement is not fertilizer, as some believe, because it decomposes very slowly and leads to the death of plants. So it is necessary to clean up after the dog not only for reasons of aesthetics and respect for the neighbors, but also for the sake of the environment and your own health,” he said.. Vladimir Golubev notes that there is no mandatory registration of pets in Russia yet, so it is necessary to build a simple, understandable and easy for dog owners to label and record a system that will increase the level of personal responsibility and solve several issues at once, including the ability to quickly identify the owner dogs. “Once this work is done, we can start talking at length about other important issues, including more detailed enforcement of animal welfare rules and how to find and prosecute dog owners who do not want to clean up after them during walks”, the expert specified.

In 2022, Russian legislators have taken several important steps towards the civilized treatment of animals. These include amendments to the Code of Administrative Offenses proposed in the State Duma of the Russian Federation, which provide for a fine of up to 30 thousand rubles. for abandoned pets, and a bill being considered by the Moscow Regional Duma on the mandatory registration of dogs. A logical continuation of such systematic work could be the legislative support for the initiative of Dmitry Davydov, which could bring order to the sphere of responsible walking of animals.

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