Mia Wang September 22, 2017

(Photo credit: esdaw)

By Mia Wang,

Banner News Staff Writer,

The Ukraine government killed stray dogs on a large scale at the beginning of 2012 to successfully host the European Cup event. Officials wanted to avoid the occurrence of stray animals attacking tourists. In May 2009, government officials in Shanxi, China, adopted a policy of killing stray dogs. They were trying to reduce the frequency of homeless dogs attacking people, leading to more people infected with rabies. News like this is not uncommon. However, the execution is often inhumane, such as poisoning, drowning, or even killing directly with bats.

While these stories sound horrendous and heartbreaking, stray animals are not all amicable companions. However, I do think there are better, more moderate ways to solve the problems.

Some people think that stray animals can bring benefits to people and the society. For example, dogs and cats can help control rodents in the community. But the troubles and public health risks stray animals bring make the government acknowledge that stray animals’ management measures are necessary. Especially in the threat of rabies, to alleviate and eliminate public panic for rabies, governments usually hope to take a quick and effective way to solve the problem. Rabies is not easy to detect, so culling all dogs within a certain range becomes the government’s first reaction.

Large-scale culling is often toward the relatively tempered stray animals; the remaining ones and newborns are more alienated to people, thus more aggressive. In addition, outside stray animals may migrate into the area, as they strive to establish their own new territory, the intensity of aggressive attacks may increase.

For shelters, ideally, healthy animals should find suitable adoptive families, and only euthanatize those suffering from serious illness and serious behavior problems. But in fact, for the large and growing number of stray animals each year, that is an impossible task to achieve. In reality, because there are not enough families adopting these animals, shelters will face overcrowding pressure. Whether it is the storage limit of the cage or the manpower and expenses of the animals, and finally the majority of the shelters can no longer accept new animals. Although some countries’ shelters have “No Kill Policy”, shelters that run well and ensure animals’ welfare will conduct euthanasia.

Nonetheless, I think there are definitely methods people and governments can take to help homeless pets. Here is my perspective:

  1. Develop realistic, practical and clear relevant legal provisions to determine the government departments’ responsibilities for the humanitarian control of stray animals;
  2. Register and mark pets, make sure pet owners are acting in responsible ways to reduce abandoned pets.
  3. The number of stray animals in a region is closely related to the amount of available food, so make sure the garbage spots are not used as food sources for stray animals.
  4. Control the feeding spots of the stray animals; reduce the contradiction between stray animals and public health issues;
  5. Through sterilization, reduce the reproductive potential of house pets and homeless pets.
  6. Guide and manage the pet market, do background checks on potential sellers and buyers.
  7. Educate the public, and multiply the burden of participation in the management of stray animals.

So as students, if you want to put your help into the matter, you can be more careful when it comes to garbage disposing. Try to find a trashcan or dumpster instead of tossing your leftovers in the street or parking lots. Also, when you find stray cats or dogs, call animal control first. Or if they have name tags on them and owners’ phone number, call the owners. Do not feed and pet them, eventually turn your back on them.

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