istanbul- Turks are notable for their interest in and care for animals, so you see them providing food for dogs, cats, and birds in public squares and alleys, as well as in the corners of mosques and residential compounds. As for pets, they have them as part of the family.
Esen Okan, a Turkish lady who has been raising her little dog for a year and a half, says: “I learned from a friend of mine that an acquaintance of hers wanted to give up her dog, so I felt very sad and I didn’t couldn’t take it, so I offered to adopt him, and he was 6 months old at the time.”
Okan believes that animals that are accustomed to living in the house become unable to adapt to and live in the external environment, and she says, “An animal is a spirit that should not be neglected. A person who wants to adopt an animal must ensure that it is able to assume its responsibilities”, as she says.
Therefore, she considers that the law for the implantation of microchips in pets has become necessary in the event of irresponsibility, negligence or abandonment of the animal. And she added: “It’s funny that someone abandons their animal because of the financial conditions. In the end, even if the financial conditions are difficult, you will not abandon your children.”
Activation of the electronic chip implantation law
At the beginning of this year, the Turkish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry tried to activate the law on the implantation of microchips in the body of pets, imposing a fine of 3,642 Turkish liras ( equivalent to about $200) to those who have not implemented the law.
Newborn pet owners have 6 months to insert the chip. As for those who abandon their animals after implanting the chips, they will be fined 6,000 Turkish liras, the equivalent of $320.
In early 2021, the ministry enacted a law requiring pet owners to implant microchips into the pet’s body. According to this chip, the animal carries a passport in which its private data and the data of its owner are recorded, with electronic registration of detailed data relating to the animal, in addition to its state of health and the vaccinations it has received.
This law applies to all dogs, cats and animals that live in homes, and the ministry hopes to expand the scope of the law to include all animals raised in homes, such as birds and others.
Safe chips with animal protection in mind
The microchip is an animal identification card, safe and allergy-free, without batteries or moving parts, implanted under the skin in different places and often injected into the back. It is planted in veterinary clinics or shelters of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, under the supervision of the veterinarian and in the necessary sanitary conditions.
The chip has a special number that can be identified by a special detection device, and all the data relating to the animal is known, which makes it easier to monitor its health status. Veterinarian Irfan Gular told Al-Jazeera Net: “We have a sensitive device for the microchip which we place near the animal, and its data appears to us. With microchips, we can easily monitor the animal’s state of health, know the history of its disease, and provide it with the necessary care.”
According to Turkish law, pets that do not have a microchip are not allowed to be treated at the veterinarian until they are officially registered.
The chips also allow the animal to be located, so that it is easily accessible in the event of loss or theft. “I think the idea of a microchip is good, especially with dogs,” Anastasia Yasher told Al Jazeera Net. “I walk my dog every day. He can get lost sometimes, but this technology helps us find him.”
The law aims to facilitate monitoring of the state of the animal and to protect it from the risks of abandonment or neglect, because it obliges the owners of animals to be more serious towards them, and encourages them to carry out the necessary health care and to give them the necessary vaccinations.
Animal rights associations support the law
Prior to the entry into force of the aforementioned law, some pet owners in Turkey abandoned them before implanting the chips, for fear of financial obligations or fines they might demand in the future. Animal welfare associations work to take care of these animals.
Tuba Berk, vice president of the Rescue House Association, said in a statement to Al Jazeera Net that the law “was originally intended to protect the animal, but owners of some pets have started to leave their cats and their dogs on the streets because they don’t want to be held accountable to the state, animal cruelty and mistreatment.” The treatment should be punishable by imprisonment so that the penalty is a deterrent, not just a fine.”
Turkey has about 6 million pets, the law is widely enforced, and the ministry can extend the time and ensure that more pets are registered and entered into the public data system.