I recently saw a Facebook video of a dog population management program, it showed dogs being housed in crowded pens, vocalising from pain or fear, and horrifically a dog being lifted 4 feet off the ground by its neck using a snare pole, it should go without saying under no circumstances EVER should a dog be lifted by its neck , snare pools are a tool that should only be used by skilled and trained staff in exceptional circumstances such as restraining a rabid dog. Humane dog population management is not something that can be done cheaply nor using poorly trained staff; it must be totally animal welfare centric and every step of the process must be done to the highest of standards and regular reviews are undertaken by a management team.
Mark and I have visited and worked on Dog Population Management programs in Africa and Asia, we have seen good, bad and damn right ugly all under the banner of "helping dogs". We have witnessed well-meaning individuals cut corners to save money. Equally, we have seen amazing programs run with basic equipment in remote settings.
Violence against / poor welfare for the animals isn't just limited to poor handling , it extends to lack of sterility leading to painful and often life-threatening post-op infections, lack of adequate pain relief, anaesthesia being undertaken with minimal drugs and not managed so animals wake during surgery and even things as simple as not identifying animals so they can be returned to the correct locations/owners.
No one is perfect, and we certainly don't claim to be, when you think you have nothing more to learn that’s probably even more dangerous than believing it’s okay to make welfare compromises.
At Dogstar Foundation, we are continually challenging ourselves to make our field clinics provide an excellent patient experience for every animal we treat and help raise the standards of humane dog population management globally.
We contribute data for peer-reviewed papers on the effectiveness of humane dog population programs , We recently took part in a pilot study of a pain management scoring program for street dogs being conducted by a leading veterinary university, once that study is published it will become a core part of our staff training program, our ongoing training includes both hands-on coaching and lectures on animal welfare. We partner with global experts because we want to learn and upskill and equally because we are proud of our fully Sri Lankan field team and want to challenge stereotypes that only "western" vets can have high standards.
It's our wish for higher standards for dog population management programs to be adopted worldwide as the essential minimum.
We are always open to learning from anyone who can help us reach our goals , We are equally happy to share our experiences, drug and surgical protocols and offer hands-on training to anyone who wants to work in this field both locally and internationally because we believe that a collaborative welfare first approach has benefits for everybody and every animal
Director Dogstar Foundation