A person bitten by a rabid dog might die within a month
In summer, when a lot of street cafes appear in cities and towns, one may see stray dogs near them, waiting for cafe visitors or employees to throw them something to eat. Manager of the company Bytovik Ltd, Elena Bushnina talked about the problems connected with stray dogs in large cities.
The company was established in April of 2001, it was situated in the town of Taliahe. An operator accepts free of charge calls from people - about a dozen of them a day. There are two men in the company to catch stray dogs. Before giving an interview, Elena offered us to see the place, where the caught dogs were kept in. We saw a lot of barking adult and little dogs, pure-bred and mongrel dogs - about 20 of them. The sight of them evoked the desire to let them all out.
Where did they come from?
Stray dogs appear because of their inattentive and careless owners. People often throw dogs out in the street. We even have a dalmatian dog, although there are only four of them in the city of Norilsk. Needless to mention that ownerless dogs pose a great danger to people, because such dogs are usually aggressive. I had to feed several little puppies at my home the other day. Most often we have sheep dogs in the dog pound, because it is the most common breed. We also have a lot of rottweilers and lap-dogs.
How does a dog get to your dog pound?
First and foremost, we work on the base of people's calls. We can also find ownerless dogs when we do the city in the morning. We often see groups of stray dogs on the outskirts of the city. A lot of dogs live in apartment buildings basements - people often bring them food there and animals get used to living like that. Officially, if we have a new dog in our dog pound, and if its owner does not appear within ten days, we are supposed to put a dog down. We have about ten new dogs coming to the pound on a daily basis.
How much does it cost to catch and keep an ownerless dog in the dog pound?
Catching one dog costs about 1,457 rubles (about $50). The cost includes wages to our employees, transportation costs, the cost of the drugs (if a dog is aggressive) and the burial. The city administration has recently assigned funds to us and we have acquired cages, containers and other equipment. We feed our dogs with boiled meat, eggs, fish and we also give them vitamins. We have to go shopping for these things every two or three days. We have recently purchased Pedigree food for the dogs, but they do not eat it much, unfortunately. If we have a sick dog, we always try to help it. I have to say that we use expensive drugs for lethal injections, we never use fire-arms for those purposes.
What is the danger of a rabid dog's bite, if it bites a human?
Most likely, a bitten person will die within a month, if he or she does not go to see a doctor immediately after the incident. A man died over a rabid dog's bite three years ago. Rabies is basically transmitted by foxes and wolves, there are not many rabies-infected dogs. One should bear in mind that dogs are especially aggressive in spring and summer.
What bothers you and what helps you in your work?
I would like to thank Irina Ponomarenko, the hostess of the television show "Lost Things." People watch her program on TV and then they come to our dog pound, offering their help and taking some dogs to their homes at times. We have a box of vitamins that children of the Norilsk Art School collected for us. And of course, I would like to advise people to think seriously before having a pet, whether it is a cat or a dog. People are responsible for what they tame.