(1) Every year, dogs are killed in Israel in unknown numbers, including healthy dogs who are executed due to lack of adoptive homes. The figures, which emerge from estimates, indicate a huge, alarming and outrageous number: some 62,000 dogs were killed in Israel in 2014.
(2) The powers of killing dogs are numerous and dispersed among a large number of authorities and bodies, including: the veterinary services and the PIZU”H unit in the Ministry of Agriculture, the Nature and Parks Authority, local authorities, private organizations, etc. These are powers whose operation relies on very broad discretion. The common methods of killing dogs are shooting, spreading poison bait and anesthesia injection – which in some cases causes the dog great suffering.
(3) In light of this reality, Let the Animals Live has initiated the NKIL project aimed at preventing the killing of healthy animals in Israel. The project aims to reach the goal of zero (0) killings by 2025.
(4) As part of the project, we seek to enlist the support of animal associations, public figures, ministers and Knesset Members, businesses, volunteers and animal lovers, as well as the municipal kennels themselves and the authority veterinarians, in order to achieve this important goal.
(5) In order to bring about a change in the reality for dogs in Israel in a systemic manner, we intend to act and invest efforts in both the socio-public, legal and legislative arenas. The milestones and steps we intend to take to prevent the executions of dogs in Israel are as follows:
(5.1) Reducing dog reproduction – “CNVR” (Collect, Neuter, Vaccinate and Return):
CNVR is a model that has been proven to be the most effective model for treating stray dogs, and is currently implemented in India and many European countries. The underlying idea is to capture stray dogs without owners, spay/neuter them, vaccinate them and return them to the habitat from which they were taken. In this way, it is possible to create a healthy population and prevent over reproduction of dogs. The expanded model even deals with dogs that have owners – by means of education and legislation it is possible to strengthen the responsibility of the owners towards dogs, encourage spaying and neutering and prevent abandonments.
Until recently, we implemented the CNVR model at IDF bases in the Jordan Valley and Judea and Samaria, where there are large populations of stray dogs. In order to implement the model nationwide, a government budget is required, and therefore a bill was submitted in this regard: The Dog Supervision Regulation Bill (Amendment – Reducing the reproduction of dogs), 2016. As part of this bill, an amendment will be made to the Dog Control Regulation Law, 2002, which aims to allocate a budget of NIS 4.5 million to reduce the reproduction of dogs in Israel. The Animal Welfare Law (Animal Protection), 1994, has a similar clause concerning the reduction of the reproduction of stray animals, and is actually used to reduce the reproduction of stray cats. The implementation of this section has proven to be very effective and efficient, so we would like to establish a similar mechanism that will be used to reduce the reproduction of dogs.
The bill is led by MK Nurit Koren – was placed on the Knesset table on February 29, 2016.
(5.2) Encouraging dog owners to spay/neuter – eliminating a penalty for loitering for a spayed/neutered dog:
As noted above, the State of Israel is dealing with a widespread phenomenon of uncontrolled reproduction of dogs. One of the main sources of this bleak phenomenon is irresponsible possession of dogs— dog owners who allow them to roam the outdoors unattended. These dogs, if not spayed or neutered, mate and reproduce. For the most part, there is no one to adopt the puppies that are born, and most of them are doomed to a short and cruel life. Many thousands of them are even executed every year by the Israeli authorities. Therefore, a bill was submitted: The Dog Supervision Regulation Bill (Amendment – An increased fine due to a stray dog that is not neutered or spayed), 2015. The bill seeks to incentivize dog owners who are not spayed or neutered, and who have been caught wandering, to spay or neuter their dog. The mechanism in the bill imposes on the one hand a significant fine on the owner of such a dog, and on the other hand allows the cancellation of the entire fine if the dog will be spayed or neutered, depending on the circumstances of the matter. The bill is intended to exhibit the costs imposed on the society by an owner of a dog that is not spayed or neutered, and who roams without the supervision of his owner. The bill is intended to provide the authorities with tools for implementing policies they have been seeking to encourage for many years, thereby reducing the extent of the terrible phenomenon of the uncontrollable reproduction of dogs, which as stated before leads to the death of many of them in local authorities’ kennels throughout the country.
The bill is led by MK Tamar Zandberg together with other MK’s – was placed on the Knesset table on December 14, 2015.
(5.3) Mandatory spaying/neutering in municipal kennels before adoption:
During the 19th Knesset, MK Eitan Kabel and other MK Group submitted a bill aimed at requiring municipal kennels and animal welfare organizations to deliver dogs and cats for adoption only after they have undergone a spaying or neutering procedure (F/1037/19). On January 5, 2014, the bill was discussed by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation. The proposal was supported and approved in principle, but at the request of the Ministry of Agriculture and with the consent of the initiator of the proposal (MK Cable), it was agreed that the substantive arrangement would be enshrined by the Ministry of Agriculture in the regulations, and the bill would be changed and dealt only with the amendment of Section 19 of the Animal Welfare Act (Animal Protection), 1994, to authorize the Minister of Agriculture to install these regulations. In addition, in accordance with the agreements between the Ministry of Agriculture and the initiator of the proposal, which were approved by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation, in parallel with the promotion of the bill, the Ministry of Agriculture worked to consolidate and formulate the regulations. The text of the regulations was published for the public comments and after receiving them a final version was prepared, which was waiting for the sake of its approval to the enacting of the authorizing clause. This certification was indeed established in Section 19(8) of the last amendment to the Animal Welfare Act. Today, as far as we know, there is nothing preventing the Ministry of Agriculture from passing the regulations for approval by the Knesset Education Committee. For the sake of the integrity of the picture, we note that in order for these regulations to achieve their purpose, they must apply to both municipal and private kennels.
(5.4) Regulation of dog breeding:
There is currently a widespread phenomenon in Israel of abandoned and homeless dogs and cats, who become stray animals. This phenomenon is primarily due to the irresponsible possession of animals, and especially from their uncontrolled reproduction: the litters of puppies that do not have a home, which are given to the custody of associations or kennels that operate in the local authorities, and in the most severe cases are simply thrown into the street. In order to reduce the scope of the phenomenon, an Animal Welfare Bill (animal protection) (Amendment – License for the pairing or sale of dogs and cats),2015, was submitted. The bill stipulates that a person who wishes to mate or sell dogs and cats must obtain a license from the municipal veterinarian, which will be granted under certain conditions. The proposal also states that in the event that a dog or cat was paired or whose offspring have been sold without a license, the municipal veterinarian, the director of veterinary services at the Ministry of Agriculture, or the chief veterinarian at the Ministry of Agriculture will order his spaying or neutering, as well as the sterilization of his offspring.
The bill was placed on the Knesset table on October 12, 2015.
(5.5) Home observation in bite cases:
According to the current legislative situation, a dog that has bit must be quarantined for the purpose of rabies observation in the municipal kennel, and the relevant parties do not have jurisdiction that will allow rabies to be observed in a different place. On December 31, 2015, the Ministry of Agriculture published a comprehensive memorandum for public comments to the Rabies Ordinance: The Rabies Ordinance Amendment Bill (Amendment No. 6), 2015, to which we submitted our comments. The memorandum deals, among other things, with the alternative to keep an animal for rabies observation, not in an approved quarantine facility in bite cases. This alternative will help reduce the crowdedness in the kennels and help prevent the killings resulting from overload in the kennels. In addition, bills were tabled on similar issues by MK Sharan Haskel on December 21, 2015.
(5.6) Dog killing reports:
Currently, there is no based information on the extent of the phenomenon of dog executions. As mentioned above, the common methods of executing dogs are shooting, dispersing poison bait and lethal injection – which in some cases causes the dog great suffering. Some of the bodies dealing with this do not collect data on the number of executions they perform and their reasons. Not least, no one centralizes the data from the many bodies that kill dogs, and numbers about the overall scope of the phenomenon are unavailable. The bodies responsible for shaping the policy do not have data to rely on except for crude assessments. Supervisory and enforcement bodies lack the tools to meet the scope of the phenomenon and the vulnerabilities in the implementation of the law. The public has no transparency about the phenomenon and its scope. The remarks were also recently reflected in a report by the Knesset Research and Information Center. Therefore, we will seek to advance The Dog Supervision Regulation Bill (Amendment – Report on dog killing), 2016. As part of the bill, a comprehensive and detailed reporting obligation will apply to the bodies that kill dogs in Israel. The purpose of this bill is to create transparency in the field of dog killing, promote accountability and provide tools to the authorities and the public that will enable the assessment of the scope of the phenomenon in order to enable the promotion of solutions, and the prevention of unnecessary killing.
(5.7) Coordination and dog transportation between kennels:
As noted, killings in municipal kennels are carried out in order to evacuate cells in the kennel. As of today, no check is being carried out to see if there are any available cells in a neighboring municipal kennel in order to transport dogs to it. Even if such a test is carried out, no local authority is willing to bear the costs of transporting the dogs in order to house them in the kennel of another local authority. As such, a management mechanism must be created (which can even be implemented by a computerized network) which in case of overloading in a particular kennel, the kennel will be able to check the number of available cells in other kennels and transfer the dogs to them (with priority for those close to it). For this purpose, it is necessary that a government budget will be allocated for a project such as this, in order to enable the creation of the mechanism and the transportation of dogs.
(5.8) Increased cooperation between quarantines and local associations:
For the reasons listed in Section (5.7) above, and similar to the mechanism proposed in it, Let the Animals Live operates to create a coordination network, in which overloaded municipal kennels will be able to contact associations which manage a kennel, in order to check their ability to assist and receive the dogs that have no place in the municipal kennel. It should be noted that not every association that owns a kennel is indeed suitable for this program, and only associations that operate and hold dogs appropriately and legally will be added to the coordination network. We will add that the transportation of the dogs in these situations “falls” on the associations, and therefore, we will ask that when a budget is allocated for the transportation of dogs between kennels, this will include the transportation of dogs to the kennels of the associations as well.
(5.9) Expansion of the foster homes network:
In order to ease the load on the municipal kennels, and in the kennel of Let the Animals Live in particular, Let the Animals Live employs an employee responsible for creating a network of foster homes, by contacting private individuals who volunteer to host an ownerless dog in their home for a set period of time. Of course, every foster care must meet certain criteria before hosting a dog in their home.
(5.10) Education and explanation:
The actions of the general public have a direct impact on the number of dogs killed in Israel – whether it is people buying a dog instead of adopting from a kennel, breeding more and more dogs without control in order to trade them, or people abandoning their dogs, or whether it is dogs that breed for the simple reason that people do not worry about spaying and neutering their dogs. In order to reduce and eradicate these phenomena, an investment should be made in comprehensive education and explanation projects in all layers of society. Currently, Let the Animals Live is working to promote the explanation of these topics on social media.
(5.11) Public campaigns – reducing adoption baskets and spaying/neutering prices:
Adoption basket – In order to encourage the public to adopt dogs, and thereby easing the load on the kennels, national adoption campaigns can be initiated (which include the associations and the municipal kennels), in which dogs will be offered for adoption with a discounted adoption basket.
Spaying and neutering – In order to prevent uncontrolled breeding and to encourage the public to spay and neuter the animals in their possession, national spaying and neutering operations can be initiated, in which the municipal kennels, associations that own a clinic, and private veterinarians will offer spaying and neutering at a reduced price.
(6) In conclusion, killing of dogs is an irreversible, outdated and unworthy solution for an enlightened and progressive state as Israel, certainly not in 2022. As noted, it is possible to deal with the reproduction of dogs in Israel, as is done in many places in the world, in other ways, humane and educational, and to put an end to this cruel and inhumane solution.
(7) We will thank you for your support of the NKIL project and for your help in achieving its goals. Enter the link and help us achieve the goal.