|Elsik started Pro Paws Charity in 2006 for the benefit of public health, to relieve the suffering of street dogs in need of care and attention, and to prevent cruelty to dogs in Armenia. Elsik’s main objective is to reduce the number of stray dogs and combat inhumane treatment of the dogs through a stray control project of trap/neuter/release (TNR). Along with this, Elsik wants to promote humane behavior towards stray and unwanted dogs by educating the public about dog welfare in general.
Street dogs can be seen all over Yerevan. No one knows how many survive each winter, how many are hit by cars, or shot by the municipality. The ones that survive are street smart, lucky, and are healthy enough to make it through the freezing Armenian winters.
I wondered if the Yerevan streets are a safe place for dogs, and if releasing them back to the streets after sterilization is not just releasing them to a cruel fate.
Elsik responded to my question:
"I am hoping that with TNR we can educate people to look after spayed and vaccinated dogs in their own communal gardens. In Soviet era, to house the population of Yerevan city, ten story council flats had been built, the space between tall buildings are called "the garden"! It is an area that people living in flats, share to commute and park their cars, and children play together, it has a small playground, a bit of greenery and trees. The idea is to have people care for their spayed and vaccinated dogs in their "garden" space by providing them with water in a bowl and food leftovers.
I believe that people of Armenia deep down are kind and compassionate, the seventy years of communist regime somehow managed to send those feelings to a deep sleep. We need to make people aware of their true feelings and then we, all together can work toward a better Armenia and better world."
Elsik is set to achieve her goals. An Armenian from the Diaspora, after living about 35 years in England, she has returned to Armenia with some great ideas and the know-how and energy to get things done. She has already gotten Pro Paws registered as a charity in England and has been accepted as an associate member of World Society for the Protection of Animals.
One idea Elsik has is to get people from the Government of Armenia’s Health, Education, and Social Services department and others interested in the animal welfare issue to form a “platform.” This would begin with a conference and discussion about animal welfare and any ideas they might have to improve the situation. In this way, animal welfare advocates can have a united front when they approach government and the public.
Elsik is also trying to get approval from Yerevan city municipalities to implement TNR. She has identified a couple of veterinary organizations from Europe who are willing to participate in the Trap, Neuter, and Release project. But first she has to get a commitment from government that they will not shoot the dogs after they are neutered and released. Elsik also has to get a commitment from government that the veterinary organizations will be allowed into the country about three times a year, over a four-year period, so that the number of street dogs will be low enough to essentially be sustainable.
|* Once Pro Paws gets approval to implement the TNR program, Elsik would like to have humane education workers and a public relations/communication specialist assist in this effort so that humane education works hand-in-hand with TNR. Elsik tells us that if someone would like to volunteer to help, Armenians will open their homes to these volunteers.|
* Meanwhile, Elsik would like to get humane education material that crosses cultural and language barriers.
Also, Elsik says:
* You can help our project by using everyclick as your search engine, instead of Google (or any other you may use). Every time you use the link to do your search, Pro Paws will get a donation from the site provider. It will cost you nothing but hopefully together we can raise vital funds for our sterilization project.
Even one click helps, please help us to help our animals in Armenia. Animals do not have a voice; we have, they do not have a choice; we do.