There have been many reports of Montenegro’s problem with stray dogs and the subsequent cruel and inhumane treatment these animals are subjected to. Poisoning and shooting, which appear to be the only steps being taken to alleviate the problem, are usually undertaken outside the summer season to avoid the outrage of the country’s tourist population.
I understand that this is an issue that is not governed by EU animal welfare rules. However, given that Montenegro is an EU candidate country, with accession talks presently in progress, can the Commission please advise if it is using all its resources and influence to bring this issue to the attention of the Montenegrin Government, and if it is encouraging the Montenegrin Government to work with local groups, such as Stray Aid Montenegro and Friends of Dogs Montenegro, which fund neutering and rehoming programmes.
The Commission pays great attention to animal welfare. The European Union (EU) has supported the adoption of international guidelines by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) for the control of stray dog populations. However, in accordance with the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality, the welfare of stray dogs as such remains a national responsibility.
Within the framework of EU accession negotiations with Montenegro animal welfare rules are addressed under Chapter 12 (Food safety, veterinary and phytosanitary policy). The Commission is aware of the problem of stray dogs in Montenegro. It raises these issues in its regular contacts with the Montenegrin authorities, recalling OIE guidelines on stray dog population control.
Through its Technical Assistance and Information Exchange Instrument (TAIEX), the Commission has further organised workshops on stray dog control and protection in Montenegro in 2010 and on the regional level in 2015 to which veterinary inspectors, official veterinarians, municipalities and non-governmental organisations were invited.