London-based World Animal Protection says killing dogs would amount to cruelty and that the Sh100 million ($1 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, Country Director for World Animal Protection Africa.
“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 lobby group argues that the Sh100 million set aside to cull stray dogs can be used to vaccinate all dogs in Nairobi for a period of seven years at a cost of just Sh300 ($3) 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.
Last month, Muriithi Muhari, the county Veterinary Services director said the county government will spend Sh100 million to kill stray dogs in the next one year in the city. Muhari said the dogs were a nuisance in public places and have in the past bitten school children and caused road accidents around the city.
The lobby, however, maintains that killing dogs is not a solution to their increasing population, citing past studies which have shown that when the animals are killed in one area, a new pack will move in to occupy the available territory.
More so, it adds that a perception survey undertaken in Nairobi indicated that 85 per cent of dog owners in the city 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.
The World Animal Protection warns that the population of dogs will continue rising unless the government puts in place systems and structures to support sterilisation efforts.