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Sasun Khachatryan
January 5, 2011
Pet Charge To Benefit From Tiny
By Sasun Khachatryan
Pet Charge To Benefit From Tiny

The decision on the pets’ charge of the Council of Elders of the Yerevan Municipality in 2010 caused complaints, and the incomplete wordings of the decision became a subject of discourse for all those residents who keep any kind of bird or a four-footed pet in their apartments or in the yard of their private houses.

According to that decision from now on residents of Yerevan who have pets are to pay a 5,000 dram annual charge per pet. Neither the apartment, nor the private house residents agreed with the decision.

In the beginning the wave of protest was much bigger because there was a need to clarify what kind of pets were concerned. The thing is that there are districts in Yerevan, for example, Kond, Sari Tagh or the Silikyan district in the suburb (known as Third village) where many of the private house residents keep small and/or large corneous pets in the yard of their houses.

In order tо reduce the wave of protest the municipality issued a press release clarifying that the charges concern only the dog and the cat keepers. The press release satisfied the cow and the sheep keepers making angrier the dog and the cat owners. Even the residents, who don’t save money and time for their beloved four-footed pet’s tail flaps often, have no intention to pay the charge.

Narine, a resident of the Centre district of Yerevan, who lives on Sayat-Nova Street and takes her 3-year-old dog for a walk to the neighbourhood parks of her apartment, is dissatisfied with the council decision.

The prescribed charge, she says, is not much for a year, but it will be justified only if the money is addressed to make the animals’ daily life more interesting, for example, to build a special playground for them.

According to Narine’s calculations, she spends about 160, 000 drams (about $450) on her ‘mops’ dog annually, including the food, care costs and the annual obligatory vaccination. But she is not going to add also the municipality charge to her expenses as she doesn’t understand the purpose.

“I don’t know why I must pay that so-called charge. Dog is not a luxury item to charge a fee for is,’’ she complains.

According to calculations of the municipality, it is expected to supplement the municipal budget with about 1 million drams at the expense of the charge collections. But nothing is mentioned how the money will be spent, whether special areas will be allocated to organize the rest or entertainment of cats and dogs. (The municipality didn’t answer to our written inquiry even after five working days prescribed by the law).

But even in the case the money, accumulated from the charges, is addressed to allocation and protection of  special spaces for dogs and cats, all the same, it is unclear, why a dog owner who lives at a private house and will not use those areas, must pay the charge.

Gegham Sargsyan, a resident of  the Silikyan district, who keeps a dog in the yard of his private house, also is not going to pay the fee as he considers it to be illogical.

“Why should I pay the fee if I keep my pet in my own yard and don’t bother anyone,” says Gegham, “it’s my own yard, I will do whatever I want.’’ 

Probably a 5,000 dram annual charge per month is little money to pay for a favourite pet, but as long as it does not have an exact justification, the taxpayers prefer to buy a few more pieces of delicious snack for their dog or cat for which the four-footed friend will by all means find a way to thank its master.

Sasun Khachatryan studies at Georgian Institute of Public Affairs.

Translated by Anahit Malkhasyan

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