YEREVAN, ARMENIA-NEWS AND COMMENT: The council of elders, the lawmaking assembly of the capital of Armenia have decided to take the bold step of making cat and dog registration mandatory across the entire city. The primary goal is to minimize, and they hope eliminate, stray animals in the city.
Owners of dogs and cats in the capital of Armenia will have to register them from November 1, 2021. The announcement was made by the mayor’s office on October 11, 2021. I wonder if there was a greater lead-in time? There must have been because three weeks is too short to get the minds of the residents of Yerevan in gear with the concept of obligatory registration of pets. In fact, I don’t think they realise how big a project it is. The city has a population of around 1 million people.
The great barrier to mandatory regulation is enforcement. How many cats in Yerevan are full-time indoor cats? I expect that there are not many but when cats are inside full-time you don’t know they’re there so how can you enforce registration? I suppose they won’t mind because if a cat is full-time indoors then they are not going to be stray cats on the streets, are they? But enforcement of these sorts of laws is very difficult.
Anyway, one council member, Sergey Apresyan, said that the new rule will have a positive effect. He said:
“For example, if an animal finds itself on the street, it will be easier to find the owner and return the pet. And the ultimate goal, of course, is to reduce the number of dogs on the streets after which it will be possible to create shelters for them.”
It appears that obligatory microchipping and is also part of the registration process. Otherwise that statement doesn’t make sense. If people don’t register their pets they will be fined.
They will be able to obtain a register permit by presenting a veterinary passport. That means that they will have to obtain a veterinary passport which contains details of vaccinations and which identifies the animal before they can register.
Registration will take place at veterinary clinics. The news is unclear but I suspect that the city council is making it obligatory for pet owners to take their animal to veterinary clinics for microchipping initially (and vaccination) and then part of the process will be to register the animal. The clinics will then share the information with the authorities. That is my interpretation. I have to interpret things because the news, as mentioned, on the arka.am, website is a bit skimpy.
A lot of countries in the West have discussed mandatory pet microchipping, mandatory registration, mandatory curfews (keeping cats in at night) and even making it mandatory to keep cats inside full-time. These are all discussions among policymakers and lawmakers to minimise stray and feral cats in the interests of improving the amenity of the area, minimising the spread of disease and predation on wildlife. Those are the arguments.
The difficulties are in effecting the policy. And there is little point in having this sort of mandated registration unless you deal with the root cause of stray and feral cats which is substandard cat and dog caretaking. There should be mandatory classes on pet ownership which take place in parallel with the introduction of the law described. That won’t happen but it should.
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