The problem of abandoned animals is very visible and extremely serious for citizens of all municipalities and cities in Serbia. Although zoo hygiene services catch over 28,500 dogs a year, 100% of municipalities and cities rate the problem of abandoned animals as “pronounced”. Not solving the problem of abandoned animals creates dissatisfaction among all the actors affected: citizens who fear for the safety and health of themselves and their children, those who care for abandoned dogs, and local governments that pay huge damage compensations. The existing approach does not produce results. Many local governments have control programs and invest significant resources in measures such as sterilization, sheltering, returning to the street or foster care. However, even where legal requirements are enforced, not only are the results absent, but the problems are also compounded, so there is no good practice example in this field.
Over 12,000 citizens are annually bitten by a known owner’s dog or an abandoned dog. Municipalities and cities have paid out € 25 million over 6 years to citizens who have been injured by dogs (ORCA, 2016)
Existing dog control programs do not produce results as these programs are not based on objective data and are not tailored to the local community. There is no information on the local situation: the number of dogs, the factors of their survival on the street, the habits and attitudes of citizens. There is also a lack of support, guidance for local governments and coordination of state administration and local government. It is important as the state administration has the authority to implement key measures to control dog population – chipping animals and registering owners, or punishing unscrupulous owners. A particular problem is that the database of chipped animals and their owners is incomplete and unreliable, that is, it covers only part of the total dog and cat population. If there is no information about the owner in the database, then he cannot be penalized if his animal injures someone.