Tallinn's new animal shelter, located on the city's Paljassaare peninsula, opened to visitors at noon on Thursday. Visitors of the shelter's grand opening were able to check out a pets-themed exhibit and photo series of the shelter's construction as well as take part in a small charity lottery.
The new shelter (Tallinna Loomade Varjupaik in Estonian), constructed by the City of Tallinn, is located at Paljassaare Road 85. The shelter can accommodate up to 40 dogs and 120 cats as well as other small pets.
Nonprofit Varjupaikade MTÜ, the winner of a public procurement tender, began to provide stray animal capture and housing as well as carcass removal services for the capital city on July 1.
A silver lining after years of dark clouds
According to Estonian daily Postimees (link in Estonian), the City of Tallinn submitted a report of criminal offense against previous city-sponsored service provider MTÜ Loomade Hoiupaik on July 5 with a request to investigate the committing of prohibited acts against animals after Loomade Hoiupaik refused to hand over the animals in their possession after their contract ended on July 30, and a number of animals in their possession were thereafter found to have been euthanized by Loomade Hoiupaik.
The shelter run by MTÜ Loomade Hoiupaik (Tallinna Loomade Hoiupaik in Estonian), under the direction of Larissa Kozõreva, had long since been suspected of providing inadequate care and euthanizing proportionately very large numbers of animals to end up in their possession, and was cited as refusing to cooperate with other volunteer organizations involved in helping animals.
In November 2013, the Estonian Society for the Protection of Animals (ESPA), together with five other animal shelter-related nonprofits, submitted an appeal to investigate possible violations to the Tallinn City Government, Tallinn Environmental Department, the Veterinary Centre of Harju County as well as the Harju County Government.
Varjupaikade MTÜ has been operating shelters across Estonia since 2007, and has vowed to take an approach that differs radically from that of th service provider it has replaced.
"Our goal is to cooperate with all organizations involved with the issue of homeless animals in Tallinn," the nonprofit wrote on its website. "We have made it our priority that as many animals as possible make it back to their owners or find themselves a new home, as Varjupaikade MTÜ's core values are caring, openness, respect for life and community cooperation."
The nonprofit cited that while the law only requires local governments to pay for an animal to be held in a shelter for 14 days, financial support from donors and sponsors will allow the shelter to hold as many healthy and social animals as possible for as long as it takes to find them a new home.
Editor: Editor: Aili Sarapik