As a dog owner, I am sickened at this situation in Iraq.
This is a reality and it is a situation where there is no immediate best action.
The other day, CNN ran an article about the problems concerning stray dogs in Iraq.
Before we judge this, and I am in no way defending the situation- trust me, let’s consider the situation as a whole.
Iraq is a country which has been recently liberated by a basically totalitarian run government.
Like many countries, they have had no animal welfare organizations or humane societies. In America, thanks to these organizations, the animal population is controlled in numbers, treatment, health and quality of life. This means, diseased, desperate and hungry dogs are not roaming the streets.
There are thousands of stray dogs that roam the streets of Baghdad. Authorities have had to initiate a killing program to prevent the spread of disease and attacks on residents.
According to CNN, The Baghdad dog-culling program comprises two vets, a council official and a police officer armed with a shotgun. The vets distribute bits of meat poisoned with strychnine. If the poison doesn’t kill the dogs, the police officer steps in with the shotgun.
The shotgun blast rips into the stray dog’s midsection, sending it tumbling over and over. Agonizing yelps echo through the streets as it tries to reach and bite at the gaping wound. Minutes later, the dog is dead.
“I do have mercy for all animals,” veterinarian Khalil Abdullah said. “But we can’t vaccinate the wild animals in the street, and we don’t have the means or ability to bring them all to the hospital.” Video Watch how Baghdad deals with stray dogs (Viewer discretion advised) »
What can be done about the problem?
The Humane Society International Has Appealed to the Iraqi Prime Minister about Stray Dog Killings, Offering Alternate Solutions
Humane Society International has written letters to the prime minister of Iraq, the governor of Baghdad and the Iraqi ambassador to the United States, urging them to work with HSI in the wake of the killing of more than 200 stray dogs.
Authorities in some of Baghdad’s neighborhoods have initiated a campaign to eradicate the street dog populations through poisoning and shooting. This comes in response to complaints by citizens fearful of roaming dogs who have allegedly attacked and killed 13 people, according to media reports.
Photos of a rifle aimed at an unsuspecting dog and authorities distributing poisoned meat to a curious puppy have sparked outrage in the global animal welfare community.
“We encourage your good office to work with international animal welfare organizations, such as Humane Society International, to find better solutions to the stray animal issue. There are humane, effective and well-established alternatives available and we are willing to help the City of Baghdad initiate these programs,” reads the letter to Iraqi officials signed by Andrew Rowan, Ph.D., CEO of HSI.
HSI is opposed to such methods of stray control on the basis that they are neither humane nor have they been found to provide long-term solutions to the overpopulation problem. The concern over disease transmission to humans and dog aggression are logical, but simply removing dogs in this manner only allows other dogs to move in to their place to continue the cycle of breeding, suffering and culling.
In the letter, HSI offers the following: “The only program that clearly addresses the public health issues involved, and significantly reduces population numbers, is a holistic approach that encompasses these elements:
- Surgical spay/neuter
- Implementation of a dog registration/licensing program for owned animals
- Humane euthanasia when necessary by qualified and compassionate officials using humane methods and agents”
Please see here for more about HSI street animal welfare programs and how we have worked collaboratively with governments in implementing more humane methods of animal population control via spay/neuter, vaccination, legislation and education.
Humane Society International is the international arm of The Humane Society of the United States, the nation’s largest animal protection organization — backed by 10.5 million Americans, or one of every 30. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education, and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the web at humanesociety.org.
The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SCPA) International calls the methods used by the Baghdad culling program inhumane. SPCA spokeswoman Terri Crisp says the organization understands that Iraq is a war zone, posing a unique set of challenges, but alternatives such as mobile spay and neuter and vaccination programs are available.
“We’ve seen this work in other countries that have very similar stray animal problems,” Crisp said. Just killing the strays dogs is a bandage approach.”Given all of what’s going on over in Iraq right now, it takes time. Things don’t always move as quickly as we would like them to,” Crisp said. But, she said, other programs, including one that allows U.S. military personnel in Iraq to bring their pets back to the States, have taken time to take root.
Join SPCA International’s effort to persuade Iraqi government to stop killing stray animals inhumanely. SPCA is reaching out to Iraqi officials help them develop a more humane and long-lasting solution to the country’s stray animal problem.
Watch this CNN International video report on the inhumane killing of stray dogs in Iraq. (Click on the image below to be directed to the CNN Web site.)
NOTE: GRAPHIC CONTENT. VIEWER DISCRETION IS ADVISED.
Children under the age of 18: Please ask an adult before watching this video.
You can help stop these inhumane killings and encourage the Iraq government to institute a combination of humane tactics that will end this unnecessary suffering. Please join our fight by investing in this campaign today!
Other ways to help:
∙ Sign the petition: Tell Iraq to Stop the Inhumane Killing of Dogs
∙ Spread the word! Forward this article to family and friends by sending them this link via email:
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