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Why are Turkey’s dogs committing suicide?

The problem of abandoned dogs in Turkey has worsened in recent years, and animal rights groups are standing up to promote anti-abuse legislation.
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Turkey’s problem of dog abandonment first emerged in coastal summer home communities, with people casting off dogs before heading back to cities at the end of the season. The phenomenon has now spilled over to urban areas as a result mostly of impulse purchases from pet shops — often to reward children for good grades or as presents for Valentine’s Day and wedding anniversaries — with little thought about the animals’ long-term care. The dogs — most of them purebred and trained — are either left in animal shelters or simply thrown out in Turkey's streets, which are already home to a large population of stray dogs and cats.

Distraught and depressed, abandoned dogs often starve to death as they wait in vain for their owners to come take them back. In one extreme incident in 2012, a dog abandoned in a fourth-story apartment in the city of Bursa jumped from the balcony in what the media described as a “suicide.” Defne Esra Yazicioglu, chairwoman of Turkey's Animal Lovers Society, says many dogs left in animal shelters “stop eating and drinking water, effectively committing suicide, once they lose hope and feel unwanted. In some cases, we have failed to save dogs even after putting them on an intravenous drip.”

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