Why you cannot shelter your way out of a street dog overpopulation crisis

As we explained in a previous blog post "Why dog overpopulation is like a leaking tap", you cannot shelter your way out of street dog overpopulation issues. But what happens when a shelter becomes a death camp for dogs?

That's exactly what happened in Neliikulam, Anuradhapura in early 2014 when a newly opened state funded dog home became a dumping ground for roaming dogs. With limited staff, no veterinary care and little or no food, the shelter quickly become a living hell hole with 300 dogs literally starving to death or dying of vaccine-preventable diseases like Parvo and Distemper. Animal welfare groups in Sri Lanka joined together to sterilise, vaccinate, treat and rehome/release the street dogs in exchange for the local council closing the compound. Part of the closure agreement was for any street dog in the area around the compound to be sterilised and vaccinated.

street dog sitting in the back of a tuk tuk

Joining forces for Street Dog Welfare

Dogstar Foundation, fellow NGO Tsunami Animal People Alliance (TAPA) and Best Care Animal Hospital joined forces earlier this month to fund and fulfil this component. The weeklong program involved moving a mobile animal hospital bus around the ancient capital and providing daily clinics to owners and catching roaming dogs who were sterilised and then returned back to their "patch". The clinics were a success with huge public support every day. 244 dogs were sterilised at a cost of $5000, which is a fraction of the $46000 it had cost to set up the shelter in the first place.

sri lanka temple
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