With the support of Mars Hungary the Association for Responsible Pet Owners together with the Rex Foundation of Dog Shelter organized a symposium titled “Have a dog’s chance - suggestions to increase life chances for dogs at shelters” on the 20th of April, 2010 in Budapest. The aim at the conference was to draw the society’s attention with the help of the media and experts to the vagrant dog problem sadly caused by irresponsible dog ownership. It also offered practical solutions for the participants.
Several thousand orphan animals – mainly cats and dogs – live on the streets in Hungary. Many of them end up on yards where tens of thousands are put to sleep forever every year. The lucky ones are taken to a shelter. The number of certified Hungarian shelters is 6-7000. However, the aim is not to increase the space for them at dog homes, of course. The goal is to reduce the number of vagrant animals. How can this be achieved? – asked Dr. Kriszta Temesváry, chairman of the Association for Responsible Pet Owners. According to her there are more ways to follow. Changing the social behavior, promoting responsible animal ownership are indispensable. These shall be started in the early childhood. Furthermore, misbelieves over adopting stereotypes shall be dispersed as well. She mentions examples of western cultures where those dogs with a handicap that nobody would adopt in Hungary are searched continuously. It is also of utmost importance to give adequate information on spaying since there are false theories in connection with them.
Dr.Péter Király from Rex Foundation of Dog Shelter said the dog home has many possibilities to make adoption more efficient. On one hand animals waiting for owners have to be prepared, on the other, future owners shall be found. The founder of Animal island believes that by ensuring animals the basic health, welfare, disciplinary and comfort conditions make it more attractive for future owners.
Imre Nemes from Refuge for Animals Foundation mentioned the foundation’s merits as a positive example. In 2009 they gave more than a thousand animals for adoption which is the 70 per cent of the animals at the shelter (the national average is about 50 per cent). It is true, though, that they promoted regular spaying, set up an animal protecting guard which is unique in Hungary, they organize meetings for owners and continuously educate at schools.
The present situation is due to human irresponsibility. Legislation is not sufficient until the change of social behavior, however, it is necessary in order to specify the basic frame system of animal treatment – underlined Dr. László Pallos, national animal welfare inspector. The recent decree on animal trade and ownership for pleasure regulates such areas related to dog ownership as conditions of ownership, individual marking of animals or dog walking at public areas.
Within its program of responsible pet ownership Mars Hungary supported the academic event organized by the Association for Responsible Pet Owners for the seventh time with great pleasure.