THE EDITOR: As we know, there is a colossal stray dog crisis hurting our nation. These social animals are left open to abuse and horrific deaths as we see repeatedly. The economic, mental and physical health implications of this problem are terrible. They include cruelty, noise pollution, faecal contamination, garbage spillage, as well as traffic accidents.
The sight of these unfortunate creatures can also heavily impact on one’s psyche. The spread of rabies is also a definite threat. The World Health Organization estimates over 55,000 deaths each year from this incurable disease. Strays also serve as hosts for other pathogens.
When we visit beaches, rivers and other recreational areas, and even during leisurely drives, we see starving, abandoned and afflicted dogs. This is a local and international embarrassment and demands strategic and powerful governmental action. This is a dilemma that requires immediate and proficient intervention.
Despite recent animal protection amendments to legislation, without adequate shelters and infrastructure, together with strong sterilisation and adoption programmes, we are headed for unquestionable disaster. Many citizens, together with several NGOs including the Animal Welfare Network and the Animals 360 Foundation, agree that swift action is necessary.
Many months ago a committee is said to have been established to move the stray dog control bill forward but no progress has been made. This is a crucial to establish a respectable state of animal welfare.
Communications were sent to the Minister of Rural Development and Local Government, as well as to the ministry, but there was an inappropriate response from one and nothing from the other.
Covid19 aside, it behoves the authorities to work on this urgent situation. I am confident the Government, working with relevant NGOs, can resolve this situation.