I recently came across an article on CNN about a dog in Istanbul named Boji. Although the story of this public transportation loving dog is fascinating to say the least, I was more taken by the circumstances of how his wanderings are possible.
Can you imagine a large stray dog hopping on and off buses, trains and ferries without so much as raised eyebrow from police or security? But wait, don’t let that give you the idea that there are no laws against such a thing or that there is a lack of enforcement; in fact, it is quite the opposite.
Stray animals are actually protected by Turkish law. The city of Istanbul has a program designated for the protection and overseeing of the vast number of stray dogs and cats that roam the city. Food and water stations are provided. Basic wellness such as vaccines and spay and neuter services are provided as well as emergency and advanced care for injured animals.
Imagine that. The more I read about the subject, the more amazed I became; envious, really.
We live in the richest country in the world. We consider ourselves to be an advanced, humane, compassionate society. Yet, here in our community and in cities and towns across the United States, it is a constant struggle to have our stray pets treated as anything other than nuisances.
It takes years of effort and debate to pass the simplest ordinances and laws protecting them. Getting financial support for the animal care programs from municipalities and governmental agencies is a tremendous battle.
For all our money and all our purported compassion for animals, we can’t seem to “walk the walk.”
In Istanbul they are working to solve their animal overpopulation by humane measures. They’re making the effort, investing time and money to fix the problem in planned, compassionate manner that will greatly reduce the population and prevent their stray dogs and cats from suffering.