ICAWC 2013 - Improving Dog Welfare Within a Difficult Community & How to Bring Municiplities Along With You - Urska Markelj

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ICAWC 2013 - Urska Markelj's presentation on Improving Dog Welfare Within a Difficult Community & How to Bring Municiplities Along With You

ICAWC 2013 - Urska Markelj's presentation on Improving Dog Welfare Within a Difficult Community & How to Bring Municiplities Along With You

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  • 1. Improving Dog Welfare Within a Difficult And Marginalised Community & How to Bring Municipalities Along With You Roma Settlements Urska Markelj SPA Pomurje
  • 2. Short presentation of Pomurje Society •Small NGO in NE Slovenia with a large Roma community in area (28 settlements) •Working WITH, not against Roma community with the help of DogsTrust
  • 3. Roma Settlements • History And Marginalisation: – Moved onto private land, built illegal settlements – Never tried to “fit in”, including no real respect for law; “ghetto” situation – Large cultural, linguistic differences from local residents • Different situations in different settlements, but all problematic.
  • 4. Roma Settlements – present day • Illegally built settlements, poverty, unemployment, poor education • Residents weary of any “outsiders”, often quite aggressive Photo: Jure Erzen
  • 5. Roma Settlements – present day • Linguistic differences (some unable to speak Slovene) • Very marginalised community, issues between Roma community, the rest of Pomurje residents and officials persist
  • 6. SPA Pomurje in Roma Settlements How it all started: • We received a report of neglected dog in Roma setlement • Found that ALL dogs lived in deplorable conditions • Veterinary service refused to enter the setlement; too dangerous • From first settlement followed the trail of puppies
  • 7. SPA Pomurje in Roma Settlements At the beginning • Mistrust (Settlements often avoided even by police and veterinary services), fear • Aggression (members threathened by axes, fireams, …)
  • 8. Work With Dogs in Settlements Beginning Settlements overwhelmed with intact dogs Example: Dobrovnik settlement (smallest): 3 houses, 18 dogs. (Today there are 3 spayed / neutered dogs) Brina
  • 9. Work With Dogs in Settlements Beginning • Puppies were given and traded amongst settlements and families Enja
  • 10. Work With Dogs in Settlements Beginning • Adult dogs in deplorable conditions
  • 11. Work With Dogs in Settlements Beginning • No support from authorities • If dogs would get culled (illegal today) or confiscated, new dogs would replace them in within days - no emotional attachments to animals; • If there was attachment, dogs would get hidden from authorities The situation called for a different approach Don
  • 12. Work Principles • Work with, not against residents, basically work with people • Going for the root cause • Treating residents with respect, without prejudice; try to see it from their perspective
  • 13. Work Principles • Following approach: “Not re-homing an animal, but changing its home – where applicable” • Essentially changing families.
  • 14. Work Principles • Gaining trust !!! Takes years! (many very sweet turkish coffees  ) • Individual approach for every family, according to their “weak spot”
  • 15. Work Principles • Making them accept their dogs in another, better way / raising the value of the dog • Grooming:
  • 16. Work Principles • Making them accept their dogs in another, better way / raising the value of the dog • Training
  • 17. Work Principles • Walks – strenthening of connection with dogs, dogs can be fun; walking clubs
  • 18. Work Principles • Presenting advantages of neutering – good for them • Fostering schemes • Enforcement only with very bad cases or when the majority of community have accepted the value of their dogs • Gathering donated leashes, collars, brushes, etc
  • 19. Work Principles • Children education (reaching parents through them )
  • 20. Work Principles • SPA P. never pays for microchipping and vaccination to make them understand the responsibility and costs involved with owning an animal • Kids have to do homework for collars and leashes if they have lost (traded) them – train the dog (video)
  • 21. • “Homework” video • http://youtu.be/Kwn9XHAjjyA • 16.7.2013 Domača naloga.MOV
  • 22. Some stats • Owerall about 70% of dogs spayed / neutered • There are several settlements that haven’t had any litter in last 3 years • There are few settlements (probably the first  ) that have ALL dogs microchipped, vaccinated and spayed / neutered (even we never dared hope for this)
  • 23. Municipalities • Based on results, SPA Pomurje started approaching municipalities (27 in the region), police and veterinary services First reaction: “One cannot work within Roma settlements” The authorities were VERY surprised something could actually be done
  • 24. Municipalities • Most were very hard to reach in the beginning • Approached already with results (gaining their attention by success) • Principle of approach: long-term lowering of municipal costs by prevention – municipalities are saving money by donating it to SPA Pomurje; making them understand the importance of prevention
  • 25. Municipalities • Often municipalities used argument that there is not even enough resources for “poor” people, definitely not for animals. – Lower costs due to prevention = more resources for people (municipalities are small). • Now some mayors have already gotten involved, visited settlements together with vet to explain the importance of microchipping and regular vaccination (an infected dog would endanger Roma children) • SPA Pomurje is using more succesfull municipalities as example in negotiations with other municipalities
  • 26. Municipalities • Few numbers – I.e. entire Pomurje region in 2010: 150.000€ of shelter costs; municipalities didn’t know precisely what are they paying for – 2012: 100.000€ – Costs are progressively lowering
  • 27. Municipalities – successes • Financial support (limited; poor small municipalities) Črenšovci municipality: “Tightening of belt – Budget adopted – The only approach is saving – 1.000€ for SPA of Pomurje” “with their activities they spared another 6.000€ of municipal money, as the Crensovci municipality’s shelter costs have lowered significantly”
  • 28. Municipalities – successes • Publishing of information in municipal publications • Donated offices for SPA of Pomurje (huge!  )
  • 29. Municipalities – successes • Co-financing of 3 staff • Presence of mayors in Roma settlements • Cooperation of municipal representatives in adopting new legislation • Cooperation between municipalities and other authorities (veterinary, police, …)
  • 30. Additional • Cooperation with the police • Cooperation with Veterinary service • “Radio Romic”
  • 31. Case Studies Kamenci settlement • Red dots: unspayed females 2009 • Pink dots: spayed females 2013
  • 32. Case Studies Suza
  • 33. Case Studies Suza • Owner calls us every day to report how Suza is, paid vet costs for his sister’s dog, …
  • 34. Case Studies “Sharpei” family • Owner’s plan: breeding and selling (monetary gain) • Loads of persuation + PATIENCE: Puppies rehomed (for free); 2 (now) spayed “Sharpei” remained with the family
  • 35. Case Studies Aika
  • 36. Case Studies Brina
  • 37. Case Studies Omica
  • 38. Case Studies Pika
  • 39. Thank you for attention Thank You, DogsTrust!