We work to address these issues in India by funding Helping Organisation for People, Environment (HOPE) & Animal Trust’s Animal Birth Control programme, which neuters and vaccinates the country’s free-roaming and community dogs to prevent the spread of rabies and humanely control the population.
We have been working with HOPE for over 10 years and during that time we’ve seen incredible progress. More than 80,000 dogs have been neutered and vaccinated, and the locals are starting to feel safer and more secure around the strays. A recent dog population survey showed that more than 70% of the dogs in Ranchi city are now neutered and vaccinated, enabling the population to remain stable. In February 2019, HOPE observed World Spay Day and neutered 84 dogs in 48 hours!
The team also vaccinates both free-roaming and owned dogs against rabies. Rabies kills approximately 59,000 people worldwide each year, with most fatalities in Asia and Africa – India is a particular hotspot. This figure sadly includes a high number of children. However rabies is 100% preventable, and vaccinating India’s dogs has been proven to be the most effective method of breaking the chain of virus transmission.
As well as supporting the Animal Birth Control programme, we fund an Education Officer for HOPE, who visits local communities and schools to raise awareness about rabies, dog-bite prevention, the benefits of neutering for dogs and compassion towards animals. In 2018, 111,097 local people in Ranchi were reached, changing perceptions and behaviours and improving the lives of both dogs and humans.
Praveen Ohal is the CEO and founder of HOPE & Animal Trust. He is a passionate animal lover who first started out travelling South Asia on foot, speaking to local communities and schools about animal welfare. We talked to him about why HOPE is such a vital influence in Ranchi.
The plan is to have the dog population in Ranchi 100% controlled. We want to eradicate rabies in the city and achieve the World Health Organisation’s goal of zero human deaths from rabies by 2030. We would like to make Ranchi a model city, showing the positive effects of our Education and Animal Birth Control programmes.
In 2018, our Education Officer visited a lot of schools and local communities. I think this is making a big difference in helping us to change behaviours and build compassion towards the stray dogs.
A few years ago, people didn’t care so much for the stray dogs. But now, if a stray dog is injured or needs help, people call us. Lots of local people are even adopting the dogs from the streets and coming forward to get them neutered if they’re not already. The compassion towards stray dogs is definitely improving and the local communities are starting to see the benefit of living harmoniously alongside the dogs.
Free-roaming dog populations that are neutered and vaccinated can live side by side with the human population. The dogs will protect their communities from other dogs – which might be diseased, potentially rabid and not neutered – from coming into their territories.
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