”Millions down the drain” – over the past 4 years, the Balti authorities spent more than a million of lei on catching dogs

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The topic with stray dogs was often in the top of Moldovan news about Balti municipality in the recent years. There have been many cases in which stray dogs have been bitten both adults and young children. And, if you look objectively at the Balti streets, we don’t notice that there are fewer dogs. The bosses of municipal enterprises are changing, “specialists” on those coming from Chisinau, a lot of noise is created from this problem, but in fact the number of stray dogs is about the same as it was 4-5 years ago.

For our investigation, we took the data about the capture of dogs for 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019. On the example of each year, we will show what specific amounts were spent on trapping stray dogs, and every number we will confirm with official documents received on the basis of requests from the Association for Human Rights Lex XXI.

Amount spent on trapping stray dogs in 2016

In 2016, Balti municipality directed to the municipal enterprise “DRCD” 360,000 lei for “Trapping stray and sick dogs”. No exact number of dogs that would have to be caught for this amount was indicated. Here is a copy of the document:

For this amount, or rather, for 347 365 lei, 22 bani, the municipal enterprise “DRCD”, according to official documents, transferred 1,511 animals to the shelter. The amount of about 12,600 lei was not disbursed.

If you believe the registry of “DRCD” for 2016, then on average, every month the company caught about 110 animals.

The cost of catching one dog in 2016 was about 230 lei per animal.

From what could be especially noted is the monthly purchase of sausages used as bait for dogs. In 2016, every month about 7 kilograms of sausages were purchased in the amount of about 250-300 lei. About 80 kilograms of sausages were bought this year, according to reports. It turns out that every kilogram of sausages bought as bait helped to catch about 19 homeless animals.

Work on trapping stray animals was carried out on a GAZ-5204 machine, which consumes 20 liters of gasoline per 100 kilometers in the city. We will compile a table of gasoline consumption for each year of trapping stray dogs.

Expenditure statistics for 2016

  January February Marh April May June July August September October November December
Gas consumption in liters 630 735 768 651 510 534 419 400 300 612 671 619
dogs captured 147 161 165 139 111 117 113 114 73 114 134 123
money spent in MDL 30889 34549 27715 32544 29632 29632 27187 25140 16915 31244 31769 30188

Amount spent on trapping stray dogs in 2017

In 2017, according to the scheme, the Balti municipality subsidizes the municipal enterprise again 360,000 lei. However, as we can see from the document, in 2017 this amount was not enough for catching dogs, for this reason the Balti mayoralty allocated an additional 100,000 lei for “Catching Street Dogs and Cats”. As you can see, along with the increase in expenses compared to 2016, the official name of the expense item itself has changed.

At the same time, according to the reports of the municipal enterprise “DRCD”, the increase in expenses did not affect the number of animals caught. In total, 543 dogs were caught in 2017, which is 3 times less than in 2016. 440,145 lei were spent to capture this number of dogs.

Thus, the cost of catching one dog in 2017 increased almost 3 times, becoming about 810 lei per animal. However, if you count with dead animals, then “cleaning” Balti streets from stray dogs in 2017 cost 546 lei for a dog – alive or dead, no matter how cynical or cruel it may sound.

In the reports of 2017, the service “Export of corpses” is added to trapping homeless animals. 262 corpses of stray dogs were removed from Balti streets in 2017.

It can be noted that according to the registry on the work done by “DRCD” for 2017, in some months it was easier for the employees of this enterprise to find dead animals, not living ones. This is noticeable in June 2017, when 18 stray dogs were caught, and 46 dogs were found dead. And in November-December 2017, workers of this enterprise did not catch more than one animal at all, however, 51 dead dogs were found in November and 50 dead dogs in December. According to official documents, dead animals were transported to the Falesti District range.

It should be noted that in 2017, the costs of capturing homeless animals included work to create normal conditions in a temporary shelter. Therefore, there was a receipt of an additional 100,000 lei from the budget of Balti municipality.

No sausages were bought as bait in 2017.

2017 spending statistics

  January February Marh April May June July August September October November december
Gas consumption in liters 181 604 665 538 602 898 892 589 892 860 829 758
dogs captured 39 114 111 96 29 18+46 43+25 33+22 35+31 25+37 0+51 0+50
money spent in MDL 23198 36099 45118 40987 33743 18599 41645 36813 42218 41583 41001 39135

Amount spent on trapping stray dogs in 2018

In 2018, 453,700 lei were allocated from the Balti budget money for the “Collection of the corpses of cats and dogs”, which is exactly what the expenditures for catching dogs were called. Judging by the name of the expense item, it can be assumed that for the leadership of the city was a priority in precisely dead dogs, and not catching live animals. Here is a copy of the report subsidizing “DRCD”:

Of the amount of 453,700 lei, the municipal enterprise “DRCD” was able to master only 218,730 lei. Moreover, the first two months, “DRCD” “catches” only dead animals – in January 2018, 45 dead bodies, in February of the same year 24 dead bodies.

The following March, the dog-catching service spent 24 084 lei, while not catching a single stray animal. According to the presented documentation, they spent 189 liters of gasoline for the GAZ-5204 car, traveling to places of animal congestion. Then we can calculate that, having traveled around the city for about 900 kilometers, the employees of the DRCD enterprise did not see a single dog. For example, if a GAZ-5204 car travels from the bus station through the center, then leaves the bus station to the Molodovo region, then this is only 12 kilometers. A trip around the Dacia region, then through the center to the bus station, then to Chisinau bridge, and then return to the base – this route is 17 kilometers away. Consequently, having completed more than 50 such routes, the employees of this enterprise did not find a single dog, and the officials of the Balti Primary Office, represented by V. Zinkovsky and N. Grigorishin, sign the certificate of completion:

In June, 378 liters of gasoline were spent on catching just 10 stray dogs! That is, they want to assure us that for catching 10 dogs you need to cover a distance of approximately the same as from Balti to Moscow and back to Balti.

If the line of expenditures of the Bălti mayoralty on trapping stray animals in 2018 is called “Collection of the corpses of cats and dogs”, then from March 2018 we see how, according to reports, the corpses of animals cease to be recorded. Perhaps the reasons were the lack of contracts for the removal of corpses between the municipal enterprise “DRCD” and landfills, in the territory of which there is a Beccari pit. Therefore, getting rid of animal corpses went according to some pattern that official documents of the municipal enterprise did not display.

Over the period of May-June 2018, the cost of trapping one dog amounted to 2345 lei, which is an absolute record when analyzing reports on trapping stray dogs over the past four years.

To the costs in 2018 for stray dogs, you can also add the start of construction of the shelter on Stefan cel Mare 189 street. The cost of the shelter cost the local budget 6,248,049 lei, and the order for the construction of the shelter was received by the Balti municipal councilor Boris Markoch and his enterprise MARSHARCON:

2018 expense statistics

  January February March April May June july August September October November December
Gas consumption in liters 782 498 189 197 402 378 443 422 395 323 99 139
dogs captured 0+45 0+24 0 7 8 10 23 18 11 9 10 16
money spent in MDL 21368 27284 24084 12476 21968 20259 22037 19589 16726 17000 9715 6217

Amount spent on trapping stray dogs in 2019

In 2019, the Balti mayoralty, according to the item of expenditures “Trapping of stray dogs and cats and their export”, will allocate 250 000 lei from the local budget to the municipal enterprise “DRCD”.

At that, the DRCD enterprise is developing a very modest 69,200 lei for the whole of 2019. Although he asks for an extra charge of 380,000 lei for the “Preparing the city for the holidays” service.

It can be assumed that such modesty in the utilization of budget money was associated with publications in the local press about increased prices for catching dogs, plus an audit was conducted in 2019. So, it is possible to note such indicators as January 2019, when 3 dogs were caught by workers of the “DRCD”, and the cost of this work was only 731 lei. And here the most important information that we can see in the cost estimate for January 2019 – 9 liters of gasoline were spent on catching and delivering 3 dogs to the shelter!

The fact that in January 2019 the employees of DRCD spent only nine liters of gasoline to capture and deliver three dogs to the shelter is very important information. And, as noted in the cost estimate, this is a one-day waste. However, already in February 2019, “DRCD” catches 28 stray dogs, spending 11,001 lei and 210 liters of gasoline on this. Compared with the January figures, we see that 9 liters was enough for one trip. For such an amount of gas, the GAZ-5204, which is used for trapping, could travel about 45 kilometers. And in February, in order to catch 28 dogs, “DRCD” consumes such a quantity of gasoline that it is possible to drive about 1000 kilometers by car GAZ-5204. It is very difficult to believe that the employees of DRCD really traveled such distances to catch 28 stray dogs.

In March 2019, 5 stray dogs were caught, for which 938 lei were paid. And spent only 19 liters of gasoline. After which a pause is made for 5 months, capture is not carried out until August 2019. In August 2019, 15 stray dogs were captured, which took 5592 lei and 75 liters of gasoline.

In September, a record number of dogs was caught for 2019 – 106 stray animals, which spent 24,883 lei and also a record amount of gasoline – 320 liters.

In subsequent estimates of costs, liters of gasoline spent on trapping animals begin to hide. So, in the estimate for December we can only see the amount spent on gasoline – 4870 lei. From this we can only assume that for such an amount the DRCD company bought about 315 liters of gasoline.

2019 expense statistics

  January February March April May June July August September October November December
Gas consumption in liters 9 210 19       0 75 320 156 0 315
dogs captured 3 28 5 0 0 0 0 15 106 19 0 60
money spent in MDL 731 11001 938 0 0 0 0 5592 8055 8055 0 6217

Results of work with reports of MP “DRSU”

In 2016, 347 365 lei and 6849 liters of gasoline were spent.

In 2017, 440,145 lei 8308 liters of gasoline were spent.

In 2018, 218 730 lei and 4662 liters of gasoline were spent.

In 2019, 69,200 lei and 1,104 liters of gasoline were spent.

The Balti mayoralty spent another 6,248,049 lei on the construction of a shelter for dogs.

From June to December 2019, the Balti administration allocated 1.7 million lei to service the shelter. For this money, about 16 people should work in the shelter, and 400-600 dogs should be in the cages. From the calculations that we can see, in a year the shelter will cost about 4 million lei at the expense of the money of the Balti taxpayers.

The total cost of stray dogs from 2016 to 2019 is 9 023 489 lei. This is to catch 2,733 stray dogs, when counted together with dead animals. In this situation, the cost of catching one dog reached 3301 lei per dog!

The total amount of gasoline that the “DRCCD” enterprise spent over the past four years to catch 2733 stray dogs came out to 20 923 liters! This is about 21 tons of gasoline. During these years, dogs were caught using a GAZ-5204 machine, which consumes 20 liters of gasoline per 100 kilometers in the city. Total, if you believe the flow rate of 21 tons, the DRCD car drove at least 104,615 kilometers. This distance is as if you had to go back and forth 5 times from Balti to Vladivostok and back.

The amount of gasoline that is spent on trapping dogs suggests that the numbers are overstated. In many months, the amount of gasoline that is spent on catching 10-20 dogs is sufficient to travel several times from Balti to Moscow and back. Of course, such figures should have caused some interest on the part of the Balti Municipal Council, which is the founder of the municipal enterprise “DRCD”.

According to the sum of the last four years, 1,075,440 lei was spent only on trapping stray dogs, and this figure was greatly underestimated in 2019 when, when sponsored from personal funds of Renato Usatii, dogs were caught in Balti using private traders from Chisinau and Bender. Having spent an amount of more than one million lei only for catching dogs, over 4 years 2733 dogs were caught. According to experts, in our city the number of stray dogs is about 3-4,000. And according to reports, 2733 stray dogs were caught. But in fact, trapping in a shelter is the launch of a “cycle” of dogs that can be released from the shelter, and then again placed in the shelter, having received re-payment for catching the same dog. Such cases have been and are, when even chipped, sterilized dogs are recaptured, and for this capture there are repeated payments for the work done.

There are big questions about keeping track of dogs. What dogs are caught by the employees of “DRCD”? Aggressive or collect dozens of puppies? According to reports, trapping a puppy will be recorded as well as trapping an adult, aggressive dog. And the payment will be exactly the same. There is no way to check how realistic were the reports on dog trapping in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019, as, according to the documents, 2733 dogs were captured, and about 4-500 dogs were kept in the shelter. Currently, only 20% of dogs caught in 4 years by the Balti municipal enterprise “DRCD” are in the shelter. The remaining dogs are released in order to be caught in a shelter again after a while, to write off a huge amount of gasoline and money again to capture one dog.

What is the level of professionalism of the employees of “DRCD”? As it turns out, in the years 2016-2019 at MP “DRCD” there is no “dog trap” position, but there were ordinary road workers who were forced to voluntarily leave to catch dogs in their free time between road repairs. It is very strange that this information has not yet interested the local Labor Inspectorate, especially since there were cases when road workers involved in trapping homeless animals were bitten by dogs.

We asked several questions to Yuri Nikolaevich Hmarnii, the current acting manager of DRSU. When asked about people who are engaged in trapping, Hmarnii noted that there are several students of Belousov at the enterprise – a man who was hired by Renato Usatiy for personal money to help catch dogs. It was Belousova who once at one of the municipal councils Yuri Khmarny called dogs “hypnotist”. To a question about a large amount of gasoline, Y. Hmarnii answered in a long speech about old cars, although the machine that uses them to catch dogs in DRSU is spent in the region of 20 liters per 100 km. And how you can spend 200-700 liters a month to catch 10-15 dogs – this is a theory about “old cars”, does not explain. And when asked about the disposal of the bodies of stray animals, Yuri Hmarnii did not want to answer this question, asking him to ask the leadership of the mayor’s office.

There is a certain logic in the reluctance to answer the question on the disposal of animal corpses, since at present this question is solved by methods that officials of the municipal enterprise and mayors prefer to keep quiet, since this decision smells of criminal articles for its participants. It is not possible to get to the truth of this mystery in the framework of an analytical investigation, but there is a possibility that such publications will revive the investigative and regulatory authorities of the Republic of Moldova, which will help to answer the question – where will the animal corpses be disposed of from spring 2018?

This analytical material was developed within the Project “Mobilization for Monitoring” funded by the European Union and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation through the grant program “Development of local civil society in the Republic of Moldova”.

Diana Grosu
Vitali Cozearschi

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