Hundreds of animal rights activists took part in a demonstration demanding the protection of stray dogs and cats in Istanbul's Kadıköy district on Jan. 9. They held placards reading “Where are the dogs of our neighborhood?” “Freedom for stray animals,” “Shelters are death camps,” and “Stray animals are not ownerless.”
There were approximately 2,000 people in the protest, according to the police records. The protest came after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan last month ordered municipalities to remove stray dogs classified as “dangerous” from the streets and place them in shelters, which effectively means death for the animals.
The organizers of the protest said that since Erdoğan's remarks, some municipalities have been torturing stray dogs and even “burying them alive” and “destroying them in a violent way.” They said that the president's remarks had been "misinterpreted."
Drawing attention to the lack of good municipal-run animal shelters, the protesters said: “Although the municipalities have been given the job of establishing shelters and handling the issue of spaying by the Animal Protection Law of 2004, there is still not a single real shelter in any of the 1,200 municipalities.”