Islandwide collection centres for dogs
Having read the protest sent by the KAPAW Secretary in the Daily News
on February 22, 2011, I am impelled to add my voice to her plea against
the proposed reckless initiative of officials to embark on what would
probably be an orgy of futility and waste of state funds in yet another
strategy to eliminate the so called stray dog menace.
It is claimed that over Rs 400 million had been provided to the
Ministry to carry out an island-wide program of sterilisation of female
dogs (owned or with no known owner). However, this project has not been
run in a cost-efficient manner to provide sustainable results and has
raised queries from the Auditor General's Department.
The public do not have access to the AG's review of such expenditure
and cannot be blamed if they are barking up the wrong tree by relying on
such public protests they read of in the national media.
Accordingly, I would add my endorsement to what has been written by
KAPAW about the sheer waste of public funds in the abortive
sterilisation exercise and the need to place the current national dog
sterilization program on the right track. KAPAW has covered the main
issue admirably in their criticisms and with their known expertise in
the care of animal such as those targeted for protection in the shelters
now proposed, the advice they offer should be taken seriously.
The point is that if the sterilisation project has been a failure
(both financially and in terms of unquantified results) then the remedy
is not to clutch at straws and 'hit or miss' alternatives.
The public was energised during the post- 2004 Tsunami campaigns to
vaccinate stray dogs and to embark on island-wide collection and
sterilisation of dogs. This was a practical and humane method of
bringing about a progressive reduction of street dogs.
It was at this stage that a Draft Animal Welfare Act was also made
public and activists were invited by the Law Commission to contribute
their views on the revision of the statute law. For some strange reason,
the new law has still to see the light of day!
Very many individuals and small groups embarked on sterilisation and
vaccination projects using their own funds to supplement what was
promised by the Health Ministry which was entrusted with the principal
responsibility for the abovementioned islandwide program.
I myself, have been associated with some initiatives in reliance on
the repeated assurances of the Ministry and its senior staff that the
programs would be executed in line with our expectations. It is now a
matter for deep regret that our expectations have been shattered due to
what seems to be inexplicable inertia and indifference in the execution
of Government programs for which scarce public funding is provided. The
'no kill' policy of the President seems to be in danger of being flouted
by devious means in the guise of 'collection centres'. Animals are in