Be kind to animals

A volunteer feeds dogs at the Sanctuary Fiji in Tavarau, Ba. Picture: SUPPLIED

“THE greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated” — no further explanation is needed when one reads this famous quote by the late Mahatma Gandi.

But the sad truth is people tend to ignore the importance of animals to our community.

In most cases, we have come across dogs, cats or goats being bumped on the road by careless drivers but the blames go to the poor animals and the usual responses are “What are they doing on the road? We even come across people throwing stones at dogs and even worse hot water being thrown at animals because they may have entered a kitchen without the owner’s authority.

Puppies and kittens are thrown away into rivers because they may have added to the pet population in a household.

And this is the case in most places around the country, not only in rural areas but in urban areas as well.

But there are people among us who care. There are people who treat their pets just like their own children and there are people who love to give food to animals which may have dropped by in their compounds.

One such facility is the Greater Good Foundation which operates a no-kill sanctuary home for animals rescued from critical situations.

The sanctuary located at Tavarau, Ba located 16 kilometres west of Lautoka shelters and feeds more than 130 dogs and four cats.

Maleeka Buksh, one of the main people behind the running of the foundation shared that a lot of their dogs have come from city councils, villages and even from people who just call up because they found a stray dog in their area.

The sanctuary even receives 10 calls in a day from people complaining about stray dogs and it has even received dogs from as far as Suva which were found on the road side by passers-bys.

“These people are part of our society and they need our help, we have five volunteers, we have always had a hard time and we always need full time dedicated paid workers, we can’t run on volunteers alone,” Ms Buksh said.

“Let’s say if these dogs were children, would we collect them and keep killing them? “We need to find a collective solution because this is a very big problem and as a community, religiously and morally, we need to look at them as God’s creatures and we are all on earth together so we human species need to find solutions for them.”

Ms Buksh said humans brought them into the society, domesticated them and animal pets such as cats and dogs had played major roles such as being securities in our families and even baby-sitting.

About 90 per cent of the dogs on the sanctuary are females and the next major fundraising drive to be carried out by the foundation would focus on a mobile clinic and getting a vet from abroad.

Ms Buksh says Fiji does not have a big stray dog population and it can only be controlled if people work together and the focus is on spaying and neutering female dog species.

She added there was a dire need to educate Fijian people on the importance of being kind to animals just like being kind to human beings.

To humanely and effectively pursue goals of eradicating the pain and suffering of animals abandoned by our society, the foundation plans to open a veterinary clinic and run free mobile spay/neuter clinic to interior settlements.

The foundation outlined projects like this only work with the generous support of the community; It added that as a civilised nation, we must offer humane and effective solutions for animals that we brought into society to be used for hunting, protection and simple companionship.

It is our duty to take care of them for they are a direct result of our irresponsibility.

“Being homeless is not a crime and trapping and killing does not work to decrease population and most people will agree is is unethical.

“Fiji has a very manageable homeless population and with a little love, compassion and empathy for all living beings, we will together continue to humanely fix the problem of homelessness.

“The priority of our organisation is to unite people for this common cause for greater good.”

It is important that we treat animals just the same as we treat human beings even if they belong to you or not because we are all God’s creatures and we are all members of the society.

More Stories