Ministry to implement stray dog control program

Minister for Agriculture Dr Mahendra Reddy. Picture: RAMA

THE Ministry of Agriculture would immediately step up its dog control campaigns.

Minister for Agriculture, Rural and Maritime Development, Waterways and Environment Dr Mahendra Reddy said this while reiterating Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama’s message to avoid the repetition the recent attack on Amari Whippy in Nadi by stray dogs.

“Stray dogs are domestic dogs that have escaped, not well looked after or have been deliberately released and they create a number of economic, environmental, social and public health problems,” Dr Reddy said.

“Effective stray dog control requires a collaborative approach. This involves pet owners, local government authorities, animal welfare groups and other stakeholders working together to apply a wide range of control methods,” he said.

An intensive eight week stray dog control program will be implemented and coordinated by the Ministry of Agriculture in collaboration with the Ministry of Local Government, the Fiji Police Force, local municipalities and animal welfare organizations beginning this week.

Control methods include baiting and trapping, neutering, education and awareness, licensing and registration.

Currently in Fiji, trapping is done in public areas while baiting is used on farms or isolated areas.

Effective stray dog control is based on an understanding of dog behavior, social structure, habitats and food preferences.

The method of choice will also be influenced by public safety, occupational health and safety issues, available resources, animal welfare concerns, impacts on non-target species, restrictions (legislative and practical) on applying some techniques (e.g. use of 1080).

Effective control requires an assessment of each individual situation and the circumstances surrounding each problem.

As with most pest problems, no single ‘quick and easy’ method will solve all problems. Best results usually involve a combination of different control methods.

Controlling stray dogs also requires coordination, cooperation and planning.

Taking a community approach is the best way to provide a long-term solution to stray dog problems. Responsible pet ownership is the key.

The Ministry of Agriculture has a stray animal program which includes control of stray dogs.

This includes annual licensing and registration, trapping in collaboration with local authorities and villages/ settlements, subsidized neutering program, awareness on responsible pet ownership and media releases, baiting and trapping on farms.

The public is reminded of responsible pet ownership which includes proper feeding, provision of water, proper shelter, animal health care and adequate exercise.

The dog owners are also reminded to confine their animals within their compounds and ensure that the annual license is paid.

Proper disposal of household and commercial rubbish and proper management of Town & City dumps is important so that it does not attract dogs.

The general public is advised to support the work of the Ministry in trying to control stray dogs eg. tampering with dog traps and releasing trapped dogs.

Members of the public are encouraged to contact their nearest Agriculture office, Police Station or Town Council for any assistance in the control of stray dogs in their respective areas.


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