Township dogs and cats have a fighting chance

Isaac Chikosi

Stray dogs and cats are a common sight for many people, but this does not end here. Numerous dogs in high density areas are also a menace for the public and traffic. Stray dogs and cats usually roam around in search of food or mates.

Unfortunately, it is not only an inconvenience for residents in these areas but also a great discomfort for these stray pets. It is obvious that a long-term solution is necessary to curb and ameliorate the increase in stray animal populations.
According to Have-A-Heart Namibia, a non-profit organisation, only 30% of the country’s population has access to veterinary services. In addition, many pet owners from low income or no income households have limited transport options too.
“Ultimately some pets never receive any veterinary care or attention their entire lives”. It appears to be that the outcome of this is an increase in the population of stray dogs and cats.
Furthermore, dog attacks can be any-thing from uncomfortable to lethal especially with rabid animals. Statistics show that 40% of rabies victims are children under the age of 15. Hence vaccinations and spaying or neutering animals often alters their temperament making them less aggressive.” 92% of dog attacks are by male dogs and 94% of them are not neutered”, mentions Have-A-Heart Namibia.
Despite this, pet owners have options. Controlling the breeding of strays can be an effective long-term option for most. As opposed to the in-humane method of “putting the animals down”, spaying or neutering animals halts the continual breeding process bringing down the numbers of unwanted strays.
Other organisations such as SPCA and Feed a Paw, work together with volunteers to provide veterinary services to the public, with Have-A-Heart Namibia offering free vaccinations and sterilizations in Swakopmund and across the country.
In retrospect, pet owners are responsible for the well being of their pets and can take advantage of the opportunities provided by non-profit organisations to make sure that “man’s best friend” is not subjected to cruelty and abandonment.

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