MAURITIUS – Thousands of dogs and puppies on the popular paradise island of Mauritius are being spayed and neutered as part of animal charity Humane Society International’s mission to help the government humanely reduce the number of dogs roaming the streets, beaches and hotels.
There are an estimated quarter of a million dogs on Mauritius, most of them owned but free to roam the streets and beaches where they can sometimes be considered a nuisance to the island’s wealthy holiday makers. Almost 150,000 British tourists holiday in Mauritius each year, including stars such as Jodie Kidd, Pixie Lott, Alexa Chung, Pixie Geldof and Great British Bake Off’s Paul Hollywood. The luxury beach-side hotel LUX* Belle Mare – a favourite of interior designer Kelly Hoppen MBE – has also teamed up with HSI to facilitate a spay/neuter program for any dogs on hotel property as well continuing to support adoption programs, education and awareness talks and providing incentives for staff to send their dogs to HSI’s clinic.
Thousands of puppies are born on the streets of Mauritius each year because most dog owners don’t sterilise their dogs, which is something HSI intends to change. To reach its goal of sterilising up to 10,000 owned and roaming dogs, the charity has opened the island’s first dedicated spay and neuter clinic, run by HSI in conjunction with the Mauritian government’s Ministry of Agro Industry and Food Security, and with funding from International Animal Rescue and the Marchig Animal Welfare Trust.
Rahul Sehgal, HSI’s senior director of companion animals, said: “The people of Mauritius love their dogs but many simply don’t have access to local veterinary care to prevent endless puppies being born, and responsible dog ownership has never been taught in communities. So we are really thrilled to have opened our free spay and neuter clinic here in Mauritius, specifically in Belle Mare, in the District of Flacq, plus our mobile clinic that will travel to more remote areas or bring our services to those without transport. Already we’re treating hundreds of gorgeous dogs who may otherwise have had an unhappy ending.”
Street dog overpopulation occurs in many countries around the world, and too often local authorities implement sporadic mass culls where dogs are killed. As well as being cruel, culls are ultimately ineffective because although they produce immediate results, over time they simply provide a vacuum in the local dog population to be filled by more breeding and other dogs moving in to the area. It is a common issue that HSI’s Street Dog Defender team see and work to stop across Asia and Africa.
The HSI-staffed spay/neuter clinic will run initially for one year so that the HSI team can demonstrate how a well-run humane program can reduce dog numbers and be expanded to cover the entire island.
Alan Knight OBE, CEO of International Animal Rescue said: “The spay and neuter clinic will help thousands of dogs and we hope also lay the foundations for a new compassionate era on Mauritius.”
Les Ward MBE, from the Marchig Animal Welfare Trust said: “We are confident that this project will clearly demonstrate an effective and ethical way to control dog populations. By supporting island communities to care for and interact with their dogs responsibly, HSI is giving both people and dogs the best chance for a peaceful and cruelty-free co-existence.”
HSI’s humane street dog teams work with governments around the world to provide spay/neuter and community education programmes across India, the Philippines, Guyana, Mexico, Bangladesh, Nepal and First Nations communities in Canada. A strong educational and human behaviour change component is central to HSI’s work, as is training local veterinarians in surgical skills.
Photos and b-roll video of the clinic can be downloaded here.
Media contact: Carla Prayag, Humane Society International, Mauritius, firstname.lastname@example.org, +230 5498 9514