Spay and neuter project to reduce numbers of stray dogs

Stray Dogs
An undated photo of stray dogs in Jordan. (Photo: Jordan News)
AMMAN — A countrywide project aims to capture and sterilize stray dogs with the aim of reducing their numbers, according to the Ministry of Local Administration, which said it intends to place clear frameworks and comprehensive plans to eliminate the spread of stray dogs.اضافة اعلان

"Among the ministry’s plans is the Animal Birth Control project, which includes capturing stray dogs, sterilizing them, and vaccinating them against rabies," said Asmaa Al-Ghzawi, a ministry environmental advisor.

"After being vaccinated and sterilised, these dogs will be fitted with an ear tag that distinguishes them from other dogs,” Ghzawi told Jordan News, adding that the dogs will then be set free.

She said that the ministry has circulated to all municipalities the need to allocate plots of land in order to implement this project, in order to construct a shelter for dogs, in addition to the need to train workers on how to capture stray dogs and nurse them.

The ministry also informed municipalities of the need to intensify clean-up campaigns, and to supplement the anticipated amounts needed to complete this project in each municipality on the 2022 state budget, Ghzawi said.

“This project will be implemented in cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture. Logistical support will come from us, however, sterilization, vaccination, and medical operations will be conducted under the supervision of the directorates of the agriculture ministry,” Ghzawi said.

She said that the estimated budget for the implementation of this project is not yet clear, adding that "a team headed by the (ministry), in association with the Agriculture Ministry, Princess Alia Foundation, and the Greater Amman Municipality has been assigned to study the estimated cost.”

Ghzawi said that it is hard to tell how many stray dogs this project will cover, adding that the project will take between two to four years before it achieves its objectives.

"People may not quickly see the difference on the ground, because it will take some time. In the first year, results may still be unclear because implementing the project needs specific preparations," she said.

Ghzawi said that not all stray dogs are rabid dogs, and that if people see a stray dog around, they should just keep walking and ignore it.
“Usually, these dogs do not hurt you if you do nothing to them. I cannot deny that some of them are harmful in all cases, but that is not the case for all of them," she said.

Hazem Al-Yacoub, an animal rights activist, told Jordan News that he appreciated greatly the ministry’s decision to implement this important project.
“The Greater Amman Municipality (GAM) had already implemented this project, and had the ministry not found it sufficiently effective, they would not have decided to implement it," Yacoub said.

"I have noticed the number of complaints (about stray dogs) have decreased significantly after the GAM decided to implement this project, and I believe that results will be even better following this decision," he said.

The activist stressed people’s responsibility towards these sterilized and vaccinated dogs is to just stay away from them. “They will be clearly noticeable because they will have a specific (tag) that distinguishes them from other dogs," Yacoub said.

A Ministry of Health source told Al-Ghad that around 6,000 cases of stray dog attacks are reported annually. Treatment for each stray dog bite costs JD650, the source added, with the total annual cost topping JD2 million.
The source warned people not to be careless when it comes to dog bites, because they can lead to serious contagious diseases and can potentially lead to death.

At a recent meeting that included the ministries of agriculture and local administration, as well as the Princess Alia Foundation, Minister of Agriculture Khaled Hneifat emphasized the importance of interdepartmental coordination in implementing the project to ensure the safety and health of both the public and the animals.

The Health Ministry source said that many municipalities need financial and technical support to deal with the spread of stray dogs, noting that the GAM began this project a few years ago, tagging strays instead of shooting and killing them, which is a method followed in most developed countries. He said the animals are tranquilized and moved to the Muwaqqar animal center.

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