From: Alice Taylor
Simultaneous Protests Against Killing of Stray Dogs to Take Place in Tirana and Durres Today

Simultaneous protests will be held today in Tirana and Durres against the state poisoning and killing stray dogs.

Scheduled for 11 am, members of civil society and animal protection organizations will gather outside the respective municipalities to call for justice and an end to the practice.

The issue has been known for many years and there has been a number of protests related to this. The most recent action was sparked by a video appearing to show Municipal police poisoning dogs with hydrochloric acid. The video went viral and a protest took place yesterday in Tirana.

Protesters carried placards condemning the killing of dogs, and some of them even took their pets with them.

The Mayor of Tirana, Erion Veliaj, has promised several times that stray dogs in Tirana will not be killed, but according to activists, this promise has not been kept.

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.

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 anymore, 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.

Some 30 people are paid to sterilize homeless dogs and then return them to the streets, protestors claim that many are being killed in a barbaric manner. They want the Municipality and the government to take the matter of animal welfare seriously and to open proper shelters to care for the dogs.

The Municipality Vet Hospital in Kombinat is where the sterilizations are supposed to take place but some activists claim that more sinister things occur there. Several activists and volunteers for local animal charities told Exit that they have asked the Municipality if they can visit the facility, but they have been repeatedly stopped from entering.

There have been several protests regarding the killing and mistreatment of Albanian street dogs, yet still, activists say nothing has changed. According to Ora News, citizens have also filed a criminal suit against Veliaj for his role in the alleged killings.