Curbing the problem of stray dogs

2019-03-13 06:02
PHOTO: sourced

PHOTO: sourced

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AN ever-growing problem that shows no signs of decline in the city is that of stray dogs, more especially in the rural areas, according to SPCA fundraiser Ronnie Yeoman.

Speaking to the Maritzburg Fever, Yeoman and SPCA public relations officer Sandy Homan said that people need to start becoming more proactive with their dogs instead of expecting the SPCA to just resolve the problem of stray dogs.

“Dogs become stray for many reasons,” said Yeoman.

“Firstly, people need to fence off their yards properly to ensure that their dogs don’t go wandering off.

“Should your dog go missing, the first thing you need to do is come to the SPCA and not just phone us giving us vague information of the missing dog.”

Yeoman said that stray dogs start to form packs because the females reproduce and then the puppies eventually give birth and so on.

She said that this is especially the case in the rural areas where dogs roam free in packs and can become a danger to society.

He referenced an incident whereby a pack of dogs attacked an elderly woman recently, resulting in her death.

“Most importantly, to reduce the number of stray dogs in our city we need to make sure our dogs are microchipped so that if ever they go missing and someone finds them and brings them to us, we can scan them and have the necessary information.

“People must make sure they sterilise their dogs as well because during their mating season dogs will leave their homes in search of a bitch to mate with and nothing will stop them from doing this,” said Yeoman, who added that during the warm season dogs can travel great distances, resulting in them being lost and becoming stray.

Homan said that once they have collected stray dogs, they wait seven days for someone to reclaim them and if no one does then they put the dog up for adoption.

This can sometimes be difficult as there is no information on the dog, which leads people to be sceptical of adopting them given their unfamiliar history. Yeoman said that particularly during Diwali and New Year’s Day celebrations a lot of dogs tend to become stray as they seek refuge away from the loud noises and can sometimes end up in destinations far away from their homes in their haste to escape the noise.

“This is why it is very important to never leave your gates opened and always make sure your yard is properly fenced so that your dog is safe in the confines of your home,” said Yeoman.

He advised the public, when dealing with stray dogs, to approach them calmly and try and lure the dog into a confined space. This will help when the SPCA arrive on scene as it is easier for them to deal with the animal as they have limited resources and can’t utilise all their time searching for missing dogs as their mandate is to put cases of cruelty first.

Volunteer at the SPCA Faith Klaasen said that as a lover of all animals she felt that poverty was one of the main reasons behind strays.

“People do not realise the expense that comes along with owning a dog — both financially and emotionally.

“They see a puppy and are willing to give it the necessary attention and care but once the puppy becomes a full-grown dog then it has to fend for itself,” she said.

Klaasen said that she felt people needed to start volunteering on the weekends to go out to areas where there is a problem with strays and inspect those areas.

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