Street dogs are a normal part of everyday life in Kampala. But it seems that KCC thinks they are a nuisance.
Kampala City Council is this month implementing its campaign to eliminate stray dogs and cats in the various city divisions says Dr. Livingstone Makanga, Director of Health Services in Kampala City.
Last month, KCC put up a notice advising pet owners to keep them in their homes to avoid eating poison that will be dropped by the city council veterinary staff in various locations across the city.
“Many of our residents no longer care for their pets which have led to an increasing number of stray dogs and cats on the streets which have spread in the various city divisions,” Explained Dr. Makanga.
According to the District Health Director this activity is not new. “We poison the animals with a chemical called strychnine which paralyses them and later kills them. When we are going to carry out that activity we normally advise the residents to keep their pets confined to avoid eating the poisoned baits scattered by our staff,” explained Dr. Makanga.
He said when baits have been set, KCC staff monitor the areas and collect the carcasses of the affected animals in the morning and take them for burial in Kiteezi.
The Uganda Society for the Protection and Care of Animals (USPCA) is opposed to to what they terms as the “brutal” method used by the authorities to kill the animals.
A founding member of the organization Katia Ruiz Allard says the animals should instead be controlled by planning their reproductive lifestyle and keeping them in a friendly manner with proper feeding.
“It is a slow, terrible death which should not be subjected to these animals. Increases in animal population can be controlled to avoid unwanted puppies or kittens that are most times thrown to the streets growing into the stray animals,” Katia explained.
Part of the mandate of the USPCA is to offer free or low-cost spaying and neutering of pets and animals.
“It is a fact that when an animal is mistreated, not fed or kept under lock and key especially dogs, they become violent and any opportunity they get they will seek freedom. This is how many of these dogs get violent and turn to the streets because of mistreatment by their masters,” she explained.
She says the public should be sensitized on how to keep their animals in a friendly environment and get them to be vaccinated at least once a year to avoid diseases like rabies.
USPCA, the voice for animals in Uganda was founded in 1997 and currently has a shelter where needy dogs and cats are housed though to a limited scale due to lack of funding. The shelter is run on donations from the public and abandoned pets are kept there until a new home is found for them.
The KCC campaign which started early last month has delayed due to lack of logistics but the exercise is due to start after the notice and acquisition of the funds.
Dr. Makanga says this exercise is done to control the spread of rabies which is especially transmitted from stray dogs to human beings through a bite and the disease is fatal. “Once you get rabies, chances to survival are rare because 90% of the victims die hence the reason for doing the periodic controls.”
However, Dr. Makanga would not commit himself to the number of cases of rabies reported in Kampala district as a result of these animals biting people.
by Ole Tangen