Blogging About Critters Since 2007

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Veterinarian Calls for Canine Control in Guam

Guam, a US territory, has a population problem with unsterilized dogs and its Territorial Veterinarian Thomas Poole is calling for an aggressive sterilization program.

The problem is three-fold....

1. Feral Dogs. Feral dogs have experienced little socialization with humans. They hide by day and come out at night to forage. They often form packs of a dozen animals or more. While generally shy around adults, they can work together to attack other animals. Rarely, but devastatingly, they sometimes attack children....The presence of nearby jungle over much of the island provides harborage for feral dogs. The jungle also compounds the difficulties associated with capturing dogs.

2. Socialized strays. Well-socialized dogs who reside in a neighborhood and are fed leftovers or dog chow by the people of that neighborhood. Some people feed out of compassion; others because they desire loyal watchdog services...The dog does not have to forage for food, and the person avoids the expense and responsibility of maintaining a pet. But the dogs receive little or no veterinary care and are able to breed at a rate that approaches the maximum for the species.

3. Traditional Pets. Owned dogs that are either fenced or kept indoors much of the time. Sometimes these dogs are allowed out to run in the neighborhood. These animals receive more veterinary care and constitute the smallest component of the stray animal problem.

I think that it's great to have a spay/neuter program. My only concern with the op-ed is that there is no mention of basic animal welfare or compassion. Instead, the article focuses on the danger of dog bites and the spread of rabies to the human population. He also calls for catching more of these dogs. Unfortunately, it's easy to imagine the fate of these future "captures."

Photo by roenke47.

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