September 30, 2020
Picture: Dr Keresi Lomata during the desexing procedure
The stray dog population along Muanivatu settlement in Vatuwaqa is set to curb following a two-day spaying and de-sexing exercise conducted at the settlement.
These are parts of ongoing efforts by the Ministry of Agriculture to control the stray dog population nationwide which saw the Animal Health & Production Division conducting the two-day de-sexing exercise at the settlement from 24 -25 September.
This program was organized in collaboration with the Suva City Council following several complaints received from the residents of Muanivatu Settlement, whereby stray dogs had become a nuisance to the public.
A survey was done to collate details of residents in the area and dog owners within the settlement, with awareness on the spaying and de-sexing exercise being conducted at Muanivatu.
Permanent Secretary for Agriculture Ritesh Dass said the program was undertaken based on complaints received from the public, and that the hotspots where a majority of complaints received on issues like dogs attacking people and scattering rubbish were targeted.
The public is being urged that dogs are also living beings and if you choose to be a dog owner, there are certain responsibilities, some of which include making sure dogs are kept within their compounds and ensuring the dogs are licensed annually.
“Dog owners can also get preventative medicines for their dogs like deworming tablets and vaccinations which are available either at the Ministry of Agriculture veterinary clinics or Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals(SPCA) and private clinics,” said Mr. Dass. He further added that the public have an equally important role to play in preventing the issue in the first place, and that responsible dog ownership can significantly reduce the numbers of stray dogs and the incidence of potential zoonotic diseases.
Dog owners are advised to license their dogs, which is $13.20 per dog and can be purchased from the Ministry of Agriculture offices and SPCA. This license is valid from January 1st to December 31st for each calendar year and is to be renewed on an annual basis.
As part of the stray animal control program, the Ministry of Agriculture will continue to have more de-sexing programs in the future in collaboration with SPCA and other charity organizations.
Meanwhile, Sailosi Naituva of Muanivatu settlement who also brought his three year old dog for desexing shared his appreciation towards the Ministry for conducting the exercise.
Mr. Naituva said they could not sleep well at night due to the noise from dogs barking in the area and spreading rubbish around as well as attacking residents in the area; “The dog population in the settlement has increased in the past three years and this exercise was a much needed one for the settlement.”
If there are stray dog problems in an area, members of the public are advised to bring this to the attention of their nearest Agriculture office.