October 4 marks the annual World Animal Day. This international day of action was established at a convention of ecologists in Italy in 1931, on the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi, Christianity’s patron saint of animals, who was known for his love of the environment and living creatures. On the occasion of this day, which aims to spotlight the living creatures with whom we share our life on earth, let us examine the data regarding dogs in Jerusalem as compared to other cities in Israel and the world.
A total of 12,300 dogs are registered with the Municipality of Jerusalem, while in Tel Aviv the total is 25,000, and in Haifa it is 12,000. In all three cities there is a majority of female dogs, although in Tel Aviv and Haifa their percentage is greater (60%, compared to 53% in Haifa and 52% in Jerusalem).
Of the male and female dogs registered with the Municipality of Jerusalem, 55% have been spayed or neutered. This is much lower than the figure for Tel Aviv, where 80% of male and female dogs are spayed or neutered. Haifa’s figure is between these two, with 65% of male and female dogs spayed or neutered. It is conceivable that this disparity results from Jerusalem’s more traditional and religious character, given that Judaism is likely to view spaying and neutering as cruelty to animals.
Jerusalem has five fenced dog runs, where dogs may be unleashed – that is, 2,470 dogs for every dog run. Tel Aviv, in contrast, has provided 70 dog runs for dogs to roam freely, with a correspondingly lower density – 360 dogs per dog run. Haifa has only two dog runs – that is, 6,000 dogs per dog run. In this context Jerusalem ranks between the two other major cities, though it lags significantly behind Tel Aviv.
Even though the number of dogs living in Jerusalem is nearly identical to the figure for Haifa, the number of dogs in relation to Jerusalem’s population is relatively lower, at 15 dogs per 1,000 individuals, compared with Haifa, which has 44 dogs per 1,000 individuals. Tel Aviv has a higher ratio than both these cities, with 60 dogs per 1,000 individuals. It should be noted that raising dogs is much less prevalent within ultra-orthodox and Arab cultures, which constitute a significant portion of Jerusalem’s residents.
San Francisco, whose geographic area and population are comparable to Jerusalem’s, has 120,000 registered dogs, that is, 143 dogs per 1,000 individuals. It has 27 fenced dog runs. New York City has 600,000 dogs. As a matter of comparison, Israel as a whole has a total of 400,000 dogs. The ratio of dogs to population in New York is 71 dogs per 1,000 individuals, with 170 dog runs.
Sources of data:
National Dog Registry
Veterinary Service of the Municipality of Tel Aviv
Veterinary Service of the Municipality of Jerusalem
Veterinary Service of the Municipality of Haifa
Translation: Merav Datan