The recent developments in Georgia have once again attracted public attention to the topic of animal care and welfare in Georgia. Existing problems of high complexity, which require immediate action have once again come to the surface.
In recent years IDFI has published a number of articles aiming at ascertaining the picture of animal ill-treatment, standards of animal care and responsibilities of their owners.
To-date existing problems regarding the topic can be grouped in several directions:
- Absence of comprehensive legislation – as of to-date Georgia has not adopted a comprehensive legal act, regulating various issues of animal care and welfare, such as necessary standards of animal welfare, rules of walking dogs in public spaces, responsibilities and obligations of pet owners, rules of Euthanasia, procedures of animal transportation, standards of animal registration and repopulation, etc.
It is necessary to adopt an overarching law, which will ensure the harmonious co-existence of human and pet animals and create a safe living environment for the society as well as pet animals.
- Lack of full statistical data – number of investigations launched on the cases of animal violence and ill-treatment is significantly law in Georgia. The majority of the cases do not reach law-enforcement entities.
Moreover, for years no comprehensive statistical data have been collected on the cases officially reported to law-enforcement entities. Thus it was impossible to ascertain the scale of the problem.
In this regards the recent initiative of the Department of Human Rights Protection and Quality Control of MIA should be assessed positively. Namely, the department started to conduct comprehensive monitoring of the cases linked with animal ill-treatment and violence. This will ensure access to full statistical data and enable the wider society to ascertain the scale of the problem.
- Low level of public awareness – Before adopting and enforcing new regulations it is crucial to conduct awareness-raising activities. Pet owners should be fully informed about their obligations, and relevant sanctions they can face in case if they fail to observe the requirements of law. At the same time, each member of society should fully internalize the responsibility they will face if they demonstrate violence or ill-treatment of animals.
Even though recently important steps have been taken in the direction of monitoring cases of animal ill-treatment and violence, much more comprehensive measures are necessary in order to ensure the harmonious and safe co-existence of human and pet animals. Firstly, the problem should be acknowledged on the political level, after which relevant steps need to be taken in the direction of raising public awareness and adopting a comprehensive law on animal welfare.
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