Animals: Geneva accused of euthanizing too many cats and dogs


AnimalsGeneva accused of euthanizing too many cats and dogs

Illegally imported animals are sometimes euthanized if the risk of rabies is deemed too high.

Euthanized animals are often illegally imported from countries where rabies is endemic.


Animal rights defenders accuse Geneva of euthanizing too many illegally imported cats and dogs. The canton denies this and believes that, in some cases, the fight against rabies must take precedence.

In the canton du bout du lac, since 2017, between one and eight cats or dogs have been euthanized by the authorities each year. These are illegally imported animals whose owners cannot prove that they are vaccinated, reports the “Tribune de Genève”. Sometimes, when they come from countries where rabies is endemic, a killing is decided. “The act of euthanasia, even in a healthy animal, must be undertaken in order to be able to autopsy the brain” and make a diagnosis, explains cantonal veterinarian Michel Rérat.

“Unwarranted paranoia”

The Geneva Dogs association, however, considers the euthanasia of these cats and dogs “inhumane”. “Our authorities do not manage the field of rabies, they react to unjustified paranoia”, pleads its president Manuel Alonso Unica. He points out that no case of rabies has been detected in Geneva since 2003. And that the authorities should isolate these animals to ensure that they are not sick rather than killing them.

The canton replies that rabies remains a very real threat and that a woman, for example, died recently in India after a dog bite. Michel Rérat, above all, assures in the Geneva daily newspaper that these isolations are decided in the vast majority of cases. “Whenever quarantine is possible, the service favors it and orders it,” says the cantonal veterinarian. Last year, he says, 58 veterinary surveillance measures were thus decided.

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