Italian Law No 2081/91 of 1991 obliges Italian local authorities to accommodate stray dogs in animal shelters, known as canili. Because the local authorities found themselves unable to cope with housing the dogs, private companies were given the task of running the shelters. Operators receive between EUR 1.80 and EUR 7 per animal per day. This has led to the shelters being run purely along economic lines, with the focus on maximising profits with no concern for the welfare of the animals.
The majority of the shelters are hopelessly overcrowded and the dogs experience intolerable conditions: according to animal protection organisations, the dogs are housed in kennels that are far too small and receive barely enough food to survive. Because of the catastrophic hygiene conditions and the lack of veterinary care, many dogs die from injuries or infections.
1. Is the Commission aware of the catastrophic conditions in the Italian canili animal shelters?
2. Does the Commission’s new animal protection strategy (2012-2015) contain specific provisions for animal shelters?
3. Does the Commission have powers in the area of animal protection in order to contribute to an improvement in the situation at the canili and to propose European minimum standards for animal shelters?
4. To what extent can the Commission take action within the framework of Article 13 TFEU, which stipulates that the EU and the Member States must take full account of the requirements for the welfare of animals as sentient creatures when implementing its policies?