Muna Al-Fuzai

The subject of stray and neglected dogs is still the talk of town and people’s attention. The Public Authority for Agricultural Affairs and Fish Resources (PAAAFR) recently issued a statement on its plans to conduct a campaign to neuter stray dogs. This decision raised a debate in the community and social media amid questions about the ability of the authority to reach all dogs, especially male ones, and the cost of the spaying operations that may reach KD 2 million.

There were also different opinions on the best way to deal with stray dogs – there were calls to kill them, house them in private places, activate the law of import and acquisition, or transfer some of them abroad.

I have written in previous articles on animal rights, but today I would also like to speak about the important role of animal rights advocates, because they are the mechanism that can change the culture of society and support the government’s decision to protect the animals from potential harm, whether by neglect by their owners or being abandoned on the streets to be sick and hungry and cause harm to themselves and others.

Dogs might be abandoned by their owners for various reasons, such as travelling abroad and their inability to take their pets with him, or negligence, where some people find that the animal, whether a cat or a dog, needs continuous care and attention, so they find it easier to leave them in the street.

There are several ways to deal with neglected dogs. In some developed countries, animal welfare associations use volunteers. Here, animal rights advocates, veterinarians and volunteers work to provide shelters for these animals. This must be handled in a gentle, compassionate and legal manner acceptable by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).

The spaying should be done by a government agency, because the average price in private hospitals for neutering dogs is around KD 100, and with the announcement by PAAAFR that the campaign will target 20,000 dogs, it means it needs KD 2 million to implement it in a proper manner.

Director of Al-Dahma Veterinary Hospital Sultan Al-Awad told the local press that only five veterinary hospitals are accredited in Kuwait, catering to animal breeders and pet owners. He pointed out that charges for removing the testicles of dogs differs from one hospital to another, calling on everyone to pay attention to their animals’ health to prevent the spread of diseases, which may affect those who are close to them. He also stressed that prices vary according to services provided and experience.

I think this is best way to reduce the numbers of stray dogs, and better than the use of poison and weapons that made Kuwait face criticism for animal rights violations. The authorities in some countries are demanding that those arriving with pets have to possess a travel document for the animal showing its vaccination history to be allowed to enter.

I think the responsible body for the issue should be PAAAFR and the Department of Animal Health, to provide the necessary resources. The government should set a budget for this issue and act seriously and continuously to protect neglected and stray animals.

Muna Al-Fuzai

muna@kuwaittimes.net