June 21, 2013
Positive Steps for Street Dogs on Mauritius
by Keren Nazareth
Good news from Mauritius, where a meeting between government officials and HSI's Rahul Sehgal led to a suspension of the country's previous "catch and kill" policy and approval for us to conduct a scientific dog population survey.
The current situation
So far, spay/neuter has been limited and haphazard, although the government has been creating incentives and supporting animal welfare organizations and veterinary practices to do it. There is a need to get accurate data from the field to help put a more organized process in place.
Cognizant of the challenges, officials are keen to set up a new, independently run veterinary hospital with state-of-the-art technology. There is also a need for policy changes to ensure clear guidelines for public and private programs.
A local organization called PAWS is the only shelter working on re-homing animals, and they are in need of good human resources and technology. There is a lot of goodwill for their work and many people want to help them succeed.
Additionally, the hotel and tourism industry wants dogs kept off their premises and away from popular vacation spots. Since meeting with HSI, the Association of Hotels and Restaurants in Mauritius (AHRIM) has been very positive and supportive of a shift to humane dog population management on the island.
Rahul feels optimistic about these first steps, saying: “I am very encouraged that the government officials decided to address this issue with seriousness and displayed their willingness by immediately suspending unnecessary culling to pave the way for a humane future."