The animal welfare lobby has opposed plans by Nairobi City County to kill more than 50,000 stray dogs in the city, arguing that the funds that have been set aside can be used for vaccination and sterilisation instead.
London-based World Animal Protection said killing dogs would amount to cruelty and that the Sh100 million City Hall has allocated for culling the canines can be put to better use protecting them.
“We urge the county government to immediately abandon plans to kill stray and roaming dogs. The authorities can find better means to manage the increasing dog population in Nairobi and its environs,” said Tennyson Williams, the World Animal Protection director.
“Culling dogs is a cruel, needless and ineffective attempt to control rabies and manage stray dog populations. The county should seek expert advice on alternative options.”
The Sh100 million set aside to cull dogs, the lobby said, could be used to vaccinate all dogs in Nairobi for a period of seven years at a cost of Sh300 per vaccine cycle.
“Vaccination will need to be done alongside a sterilisation programme too, but it could be a fantastic mass dog vaccination scheme with this kind of budget,” the organisation said.
The lobby maintains that killing dogs is not a solution to their increasing population, citing studies have shown that when the animals are killed in one area, a new pack will move in to occupy the available territory.
It says the population of dogs will continue rising unless the government puts in place systems and structures to support sterilisation efforts.
A perception survey undertaken in Nairobi indicates that 85 per cent of dog owners in Nairobi are ready to take their dogs for vaccination and population control services if the services are available. “Unfortunately, these services are not available,” the lobby said.