Thursday, January 12, 2012

2,500 less puppies will be born in 2012 in just one day of the clinic

The fourth sterilisation clinic organised by SOS Cães e Gatos (Cats & Dogs) started yesterday.  The clinic is part of a strategy to reduce the dog and cat population of Sal in a humane way.  The vets that come over from Germany are specialists in this sort of work and travel all over the world helping associations in this way.  Because they are such experts it is possible to perform many operations each day - it is almost like a production line, with the best German efficiency!  The wonderful veterinarian Ines Leuw can sterilise a female dog in less than eight minutes!

Recently there was a lot of discussion, led by the hotels on Sal, about the creation of a 'kennel' that would be built and run by the City Hall.  This kennel would be out in the middle of the desert and the dogs would be collected from the hotels and held there for an unspecified time when the owners must collect them and pay a fine.  If they are not collected then they would be killed.  This not very well-conceived plan has so many problems that it is hard to know where to start, but here are a few;
  1. Who will collect the dogs, since many strays are not approachable?
  2. Which dogs will be collected?  Will the neutered dogs be included?  How to determine if dogs are owned or not?
  3. Who will take care of the dogs?  Where will the money come from to feed & water them?
  4. What if people cannot reach the kennel or do not have money to pay the fine?
  5. How will they be killed and who would do it?  There would be no humane way since the veterinarian would not kill healthy animals.
A family of ginger kittens recovering from their operation
This 'solution' is really just a death sentence for the dogs, but in a less obvious way than the still-used practice of throwing meat laced with strychnine on the beaches.  As one hotel manager stated ' Yes, the dogs will be killed, but it will be less difficult for the tourists to deal with'.  In other words, for everyone it would be a case of out of sight out of mind.

The problem is of course that this is only a short term 'solution' and therefore not really a solution at all.  As quoted many times on this blog, the World Health Organisation states that 'no extermination of dog populations by poison, shooting or other means, has every succeeded anywhere in the world'.

Therefore the aim is to sterilise as many dogs & cats as possible and programmes such as this carried out on islands have a special chance of success.  Since there are few new dogs wandering on to the island (unless they swim from Boa Vista!), the results can be quite dramatic.  

The veterinarians at work
In just the first day 30 females were sterilised.  These 30 females could have two litters (of 6 puppies) during 2012, if 6 of these were female, they could also have 12 puppies this year.  That means in theory

30 x 12 = 360 puppies
50% female = 180 who then have 12 puppies of their own = 2,160
Total new dogs prevented in just one year = 360+2,160 = 2,520

There is no way that an extermination programme could get anywhere close to this efficiency!

Strange how the Capeverdean people who line up outside the clinics each day can follow this logic, but the mostly European hotel & restaurant owners & managers can't seem to grasp the concept!!

The clinic runs in Santa Maria (opposite the old May O'Leary's) until the 15th January and then at Africa 70 in Espargos from the 17th - 22nd.  Call 957 2162 for more information.