THE EDITOR: Open response to Minister of Local Government Kazim Hosein on the proposed San Fernando City Corporation’s (SFCC) $3 million dog pound.
I was present at a meeting when you were mayor at which you were discussing a way forward to the stray dog/pound issue and we suggested that a modern building was not the complete solution as it would only be a new building where the same old workers would operate in the same old way.
Please consider instead a dramatic change in the way the stray dog and cat problem is managed:
* New laws or amendments to existing laws which make pet owners culpable when they are irresponsible (“Chile just did this”).
* A government-subsidised national spay and neuter programme based on education, awareness and action (this can be for a period of three years).
* Instituting the licence and electronic tagging system so each district maintains a database of pets owned (the revenue for the spay and neuter programme will be recovered with this).
* Implemention of an animals authority to which people who abuse animals can be reported and cases investigated and perpetrators charged and fined or imprisoned.
After these changes, the modernised pound will then only house real homeless dogs or dogs seized from irresponsible owners who have been dealt with by the law and would be blacklisted from owning another pet.
The SFCC can now start a working relationship with the shelters to take over the dogs because the numbers should have been greatly reduced because of the restrictions placed on pet ownership.
This is a wholistic approach which looks at inputs, throughputs and outputs and does not just deal with the end result of a huge problem in an inhumane way.
Please meet with the stakeholders to consider these and other humane recommendations, Mr Minister. You seem to be a good man who is interested in meaningful change. And we should never undervalue any of God’s creatures.