VOSD WORKS WITH MAURITIUS GOVERNMENT TO STOP STRAY DOG KILLING IN THE COUNTRY

A few animal welfare volunteers from Mauritius had reached out to VOSD for help because of the cruelty being meted out to the stray dogs there:

• Stray dogs would simply be euthanised because the law didn’t have any provisions to protect them

• Dog shelters were managed so poorly that the dogs would kill each other since they were starving!

When the case was presented to Laxita Bhuruth, who heads the VOSD Animal Birth Control (ABC) Program, she could barely even look at these pictures. A native of Mauritius though having lived away for 22 years, she wasn’t fully aware of the situation stray dogs faced there. VOSD decided to assess the situation and ensure a positive outcome for stray dogs.

VOSD meets with volunteers in Mauritius

In January 2021, Laxita met with Ms. Rubina Jhubboo and other volunteers in Mauritius and had online meetings with many to understand the case better. “It seemed like a total chaos,” she recalled. Mass sterilisation was the only solution that could benefit the stray & abandoned pet dogs, so VOSD proposed the same to the volunteers as a long-term and sustainable solution.

It is scientifically proven that sterilisation prevents unnecessary breeding in dogs thus minimising their population. It also reduces the risk of various diseases in canines such as cancer, womb infection etc. This is the only humane manner to achieve gradual reduction and stabilisation in the population of stray dogs on a long-term basis.

Project prepared for welfare of stray dogs

The challenge was convincing government authorities of the same, so a meeting with Mr. Julien George, the newly appointed chairman of the government-run dog shelter, was arranged. Laxita brought to light how VOSD supports sterilisation programs in different cities across India with the support of local NGOs, and proposed the same model for Mauritius.

But for this to happen, some changes in the legal system were required so the chairman asked that a project be prepared. “It was a once in a lifetime opportunity to save these poor souls and to bring awareness on stray dog sterilisation to the authorities and to the citizens,” said Laxita! The project was done in two sets:

• The Catch Neuter Release (CNR) project for stray dogs and mass sterilisation of pet dogs

• A set of guidelines for implementation of the above project

Along with the CNR project, details about how to set up a legal reform panel to review the Animal Welfare act in Mauritius was also proposed.

There were several meetings and internal reviews with the Mauritius Society for Animal Welfare (MSAW) management, before presenting the final project to the Ministry. The Government officials scrutinised and questioned every part of the project. They recommended changes too but, “It was all for the welfare of the dogs and to reduce human-dog conflicts,” said Laxita.

Stray dogs of Mauritius finally protected from euthanasia

Finally, the projects have been approved! The Mauritius Government has already started FREE sterilisation of pet dogs, which is the first victory. Additionally, in 2013 a law regarding the euthanasia of stray dogs found at the hospitals and airports that was introduced – “A stray dog caught within any airport, seaport or hospital compound shall forthwith be euthanised.” The Ministry took recognition of this too and finally amended it; such dogs are free to live now.

We appreciate the Mauritius Government’s willingness to consider our opinions about the CNR for stray dogs and mass sterilisation of pet dogs programs. Their progressive and modern thought process along with willingness to implement humane methods of handling stray dog population is admirable. These are small victories in an ocean of challenges that lie ahead of Mauritius’ dogs, but it is a great start and moment of pride for VOSD!

For more information, general advice, and news on dogs, visit www.vosd.in