Stray dogs being killed in Turkey because of app, activists claim

Stray dogs being killed in Turkey because of app, activists claim

A court in Turkey has banned a website that maps out the location of stray dogs amid concerns it was being used to hunt down and kill the homeless animals.

The controversial website and app, Havrita – a combination of the Turkish words for “woof” and “map” – allows users to post pictures and specific locations of stray animals they had noticed in their neighbourhoods.

But the 1st Criminal Court of Peace in Ankara has blocked Havrita after a legal challenge which claimed it was helping people track down strays to poison them.

According to Turkish media reports, the killing of stray animals is fairly common in the country, often due to concerns that they pose a threat to children or livestock.

There have also been reports of dogs being killed after their barking became a nuisance.

The website had been heavily criticised by animal rights groups and Turkish celebrities on social media, according to the news website Turkish Minute.

‘Shut down Havrita’

The Turkish hashtag “shut down Havrita” began trending on Twitter after images emerged of dogs that had been tortured and killed after being located via the app, the news outlet reported.  

“Since the launch of this map, animals have been tortured and slaughtered…The map has no social benefit other than targeting animals,” said the organiser of one online petition calling for the website to be scrapped. The petition secured more than 80,000 signatures within just a few days of being posted.

The creators of the website said it was not set up with any sinister purpose in mind, and was merely supposed to warn residents in Turkish cities if stray and potentially dangerous animals were in their area.

“[It determines] where packs of dogs are, determine how many there are and ensure that people are more careful when travelling through areas designated as dangerous,” the website states.

Lawyers representing the app pointed out that it was created in response to a 10-year-old girl being killed by a truck while running away from stray dogs. 

Gülsaniye Ekmekçi, a lawyer who mounted the court challenge against Havrita, said: “It can be inferred from the cases in the marked areas that Havrita is an application created by people who want the animals on the street to be collected and killed.”

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Last Update: Tue, 23 Aug 22 13:24:06