Many of the communities that we work in are home to large numbers of free-roaming dogs and cats.
There are many causes that lead to these circumstances including unregulated breeding of unneutered animals, limited knowledge and acceptance of neutering, limited veterinary provisions and preventative animal care, and poor waste management.
Mayhew is working to address these issues. We work with government authorities, veterinary training establishments and local animal welfare groups to develop programmes that will provide a sustainable solution to the problem.
Kabul Municipality historically controlled their street dog population by poisoning the dogs with strychnine. They hid the poison in meat, which the dogs would eat. Strychnine poisoning causes convulsions and impaired breathing, and often takes over an hour to kill the animal – it is an extremely painful process.
This method of controlling dog populations is impractical, cruel and completely unacceptable. It has no long-term impact on the population making it both ineffective and a waste of funding. It also means that other animals are exposed to the poisoned meat and could contribute to the loss of other species.
Thankfully in January 2017, Mayhew signed a landmark agreement with Kabul Municipality to stop culling dogs in the city. We agreed that we would implement a mass canine rabies vaccination programme and develop a sustainable dog population management strategy. This programme began in August 2017 with the support of the local authority.
Mayhew International has been working in Georgia since 2013. We have assisted Tbilisi City Council with their development of a street dog population management programme. We fund a Trap, Vaccinate, Neuter, Return programme (TVNR) with Georgian charity Dog Organisation Georgia (DOG) in Tbilisi. DOG has a fantastic team of dedicated volunteers made up of expats and local Georgian activists who identify and monitor the dogs in the city.
To help manage the street dog population, these volunteers bring the dogs for neutering at either the Free Agrarian University Vet Clinic or New Vet Clinic, where the vets have received training from Mayhew’s veterinary team. The team have also carried out two surveys in Tbilisi, which will help us determine our next steps in Georgia. The first survey was completed by Tbilisi residents and covered their attitude towards dogs living on the street and if they understood what a ‘tagged’ dog was (neutered and vaccinated against rabies). The second was completed by vets to understand their attitude to neutering and what further training is required.
Mayhew International has been involved with companion animal welfare in Moscow since 2001. We currently support three charities in the capital with neutering programmes and veterinary training.
One example of this is our work with charity, Fond Dingo. Fond Dingo provides neutering services for families and pet owners on extremely low incomes and supports with hoarding cases. We also deliver a project working with monastic communities to encourage them to promote neutering in surrounding villages.
For nearly a decade, we have been funding an Animal Birth Control and vaccination programme with local charity, HOPE and Animal Trust. Based in Ranchi, India, HOPE’s team has neutered over 70,000 dogs – over 74% of the dog population.
Life is hard for a street dog in India as they must cope with disease, scarcity of food and abuse. The neutering programme is helping reduce the number of animals that struggle each day. The number of street and community dogs that have been treated is now visible on the streets of Ranchi. The locals are starting to feel much safer and more secure in the community knowing the dogs are being vaccinated.