How the rules of keeping large dogs in the city were changing over 70 years

January 8

The second half of the 1950s saw Moscow residents of communal apartments moving into individual apartments to improve living conditions. This was partly the reason of the fact that the idea of having pets was spreading among Muscovites. Therefore the necessity to establish rules for keeping pets came up. The Glavarchiv contains documents concerning measures set up in those years in Moscow. 

The enlarged living space made it possible to have large dogs. Thus, having a sheepdog became fashionable in the 1950s. It is known that lack of care and ill-breeding of large dogs can cause accidents.

On August 3, 1956, the Moscow City Council determined the procedure of keeping dogs in the city. All owners had to register their pets in veterinary clinics at the place of residence, where they were given a certificate and an identification tag. The identification tag was attached to the dog's collar and helped identify a lost animal, and find the owner. Clubs had to be registered within three days. 

Meanwhile, it was strictly forbidden to have an unregistered dog. House managers and building-service supervisors monitored compliance with such rules. They reported to the veterinary authorities about owners with unregistered animals. 

"Now dogs are subject to mandatory registration too. The Moscow Government Resolution on Temporary Rules for Keeping Dogs and Cats is valid on the city’s territory. It was adopted on February 8, 1994. The purchased animal must be registered within two weeks. Today, owners would rather choose microchipping to identify dogs. A microchip is both the most convenient way of identification and a procedure that significantly increases chances of finding one’s pet if it is lost. The chipping is completely painless and safe," the press service of the Moscow Veterinary Committee informed.

In the 1950s, Moscow introduced mandatory certification of animal health when selling, buying, importing and exporting it. After the dog’s death, the owner had to report it to the veterinary clinic and return the certificate and identification tag received on registration.

Today’s selling or buying a pet, as well as traveling abroad or to an exhibition needs a veterinary supporting document. Besides, the pet must have a Pet Passport with information about vaccination and treatments against parasites. Documents are issued at any state veterinary clinic.

The rules of the 1950s also contain information about walking large dogs. To avoid accidents, pets on a walk had to wear a muzzle and be on a leash. This measure ensured control of dog movements, avoiding contact with wild animals, and preventing a serious danger of spreading rabies. 

Now it is forbidden to appear with a dog without a leash and a muzzle in shops, playgrounds, markets, beaches and in transport.

"One can only let a pet off the leash in empty places. In addition, owners are required to vaccinate their pets against rabies. Vaccination of pets against rabies is carried out free of charge in all state veterinary clinics and on-mobile vaccination points. Besides, a veterinary specialist can come to one’s home on call," added the Veterinary Committee.

All cases of dog biting a person or another pet had to be reported to health authorities, veterinary supervision authorities and the police. Both the biting and the bitten animals had to be taken immediately to the veterinary clinic or to the City Veterinary Station for inspection and quarantine. Once the isolation period expired, the pets were returned to their owners, if no rabies was detected. In addition to the veterinary clinic, the pet could be quarantined at home if the owner ensured its isolation.

According to experts of the Veterinary Committee, very similar rules apply today. The dog biting a person or another animal shall be reported to the nearest state veterinary clinic within 24 hours. Veterinary specialists will examine the biting pet. If the owner can ensure isolation, the animal will be returned to him. Specialists will monitor the pet for 14 days to exclude rabies. A bitten person should promptly contact a medical institution, where he will be vaccinated and wounds debrided.


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