No Kill in Europe--It can be done

In the US we consider No-Kill a distant goal, while in several European countries dogs and cats are not killed in public or private shelters. That is, No-Kill is a fact. However, I still have to research how they do it and whether "overpopulation" is not a problem there or how they deal with it.

I got this email from an Italian academic whose article I read about successful TNR efforts in Rome led me to write her. I asked about kill rates in Rome, Italy and the rest of Europe. This is her response:

From: Eugenia Natoli
Subject: Cats of Rome
To: "Edward Muzika"
Date: Thursday, September 10, 2009, 12:40 PM

Dear Dr. Muzika,

I am sorry to know that there is such a high kill rate in many parts of U.S.A. It is funny that, in Italy, most of us are convinced that domestic dogs and cats are never killed abroad.
Actually, the no-kill policy is enforced by law in all Italy, i.e. in Italy is forbidden to kill domestic cats and dogs, unless they are uncurable or dangerous. The public opinion is so strong that dogs are euthanised very rarely, even when they are clearly highly dangerous and they should be.
In Europe there are only Austria and some regions of Spain where the no-kill policy is enforced by law, like in Italy. Unfortunately, I have no data on the kill rate in other European countries.
My field is behaviour, so I have published mainly on it. I enclose a list of my publications. Let me know if you are interested in some of them, and I will send you them.

Best regards


Eugenia Natoli
Azienda USL Roma D
Dipartimento Sanità Pubblica Veterinaria
Ospedale Veterinario
Via della Magliana, 856
00148 Roma

tel. +39 06 56487641
fax. +39 06 56487647


Anonymous said...

I was in Rome when I was about 12 years old, before they started doing TNR there. I remember seeing cats everywhere, and they seemed to be an accepted part of the community. The cats hung out at all the restaurants and were obviously used to getting handouts. They were not treated as nuisance animals or a scrouge that must be stamped out they way they are here in the US. I think this is a cultural difference. Europeans are more relaxed and tolerant about many things, often embodying a live and let live attitude that is apparently threatening to Americans.

Let them be... said...

Yea, cats and dogs run amock all over Italy and Spain. Why not here?! It used to be the same way in Tijuana from what I remember.

Ed Muzika said...

Apparently the Italians don't think it the problem you do.

giovanna_p said...

I wish the situation was that simple... Italy rejects euthanasia as a mean of animal population control. If the idea is really good, its implementation has been somewhat free to interpretation. Stray cats and dogs belong to the city major by law, so there is a legal reason for cities to do their duty, as in low cost spay-neutering clinics and free shelters. However, due to overpopulation and sometimes mismanagement (some say organized crime, especially when given to sub-contractors), some of these shelters have have been nicknamed "concentration camps" by some animal care groups, where the condition of the animals is close to desperate...
But yes, in some cities it works - I loved the cat sanctuary of Torre Argentina in Rome. And in some areas the cities just cannot cope with the huge number of strays...