From: Alice Elizabeth Taylor
Activists Claim Municipality of Tirana Murdered Almost 1000 Street Dogs in a Year

Animal rights activists have told Exit that at least 965 stray dogs were removed from Tirana’s streets in 2019 and the first month of 2020.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the activists presented Exit with detailed monthly logs of which dogs disappeared and from where. They state that while they were able to save 21, the fate of the remaining 944 is unknown. They also estimate the number of dogs taken by the Municipality of Tirana to be much higher.

They observed the following:

Feb 2019: 118 dogs taken, 2 dogs saved;
March 2019: 52 dogs taken, 11 dogs saved;
April 2019: 91 dogs taken, 4 dogs saved;
May 2019: 93 dogs taken, 4 dogs saved;
June 2019: 84 dogs taken;
July 2019: 25 dogs taken;
August 2019: 73 dogs taken;
September 2019: 82 dogs taken;
October 2019: 80 dogs taken;
November 2019: 75 dogs taken;
December 2019: 132 dogs taken;
January 2020 (up to 15th): 60 dogs taken.

Those listed as “saved” are taken back by volunteers who go to the Municipality pound, pay a fee, and take the dogs. The fate of those that remain is not known, but they are not released onto the street. 

In video footage presented to Exit, Municipality employees can be seen violently loading the dogs into cages, some of which were stained with blood. Photos also show dogs with darts in their backs and legs. 

In one video, a Municipality worker can be seen and heard being aggressive with the activists after they question him on the fate of the dogs.

Images from within the Municipality pound show dogs being kept in horrendous conditions, looking fearful and with empty food and water bowls. The Municipality denies access to journalists and members of animal rights NGOs but volunteers that managed to gain access said dogs were heavily sedated and “out of it”.

Almost 1000 dogs have disappeared, many of which have been vaccinated, de-wormed and flea treated, and sterilized by volunteers. Many more care for the dogs by feeding them each day in specific places. They claim that the Municipality is rounding them up, murdering them and dumping the bodies as no one will tell them what happens to the dogs when they are taken off the street.

Activists claim the Municipality used to say they had a shelter where they took care of the dogs but now this story has changed. 

“After that they don’t care anymore and they told us ‘you don’t have to search for them any more, they are dead”.

Activists added that they were told many were left by the Elbasan-Tirana highway to be hit by car drivers, others were killed deliberately, and others were left where no one will feed them.

Citizens’ in Burrel said they had witnessed that since the beginning of January the street dogs and cats in the area were being poisoned.