Chief Health Inspector Lionel Michael has told the cabinet that there are over 20 thousand stray dogs in Antigua & Barbuda.
Michael and two veterinarians were invited to cabinet yesterday to address on the subject of stray dogs.
“The number of strays is a challenge, both in the city and in rural areas,” Chief of Staff Lionel Hurst reported today.
The vets told cabinet that a dog pound is required and proposed a location based on the existing placement of an operating room for neutering and spaying the dogs.
Many dogs with skin conditions are put to sleep when captured, and cannot be placed in a pound, since they would infect otherwise healthy animals, according to Hurst.
He said home dogs make up the vast majority, followed by roaming dogs.
The vets explained the vaccination schedule of puppies, and the reason why dogs are vaccinated at 6, 10 and 14 weeks. After a dog has grown to 14 weeks, it receives only 2 vaccinations, not three.
Antiguan dogs that are exported to Canada ought not to be sent until they have received all three vaccinations, if the reputation of the state is to be safeguarded, the vets explained.
There have been numerous spay and neuter clinics over the years which has failed to control the stray dog population.
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The spay and neuter programs which are paramount to the control of the population of dogs, has failed because of lack of funds. There are people more than willing to run the spay and neuter programs but the government has to step up to fund this if they want to control the population.
Exactly where are they getting their numbers from? Pulled out of a hat by the sound of things. The government needs to step up to the plate and realise that the stray and badly treated animals on the island are what is affecting our reputation not the fact that dogs are being sent to Canada. They should be making it easier not harder for Canadians to take our dogs
The spay and neuter programs on the island are failing because of archaic regulations that do not allow stray animals to be spayed or neutered then released. Letting 20,000 animals procreate in the wild without any controls will see this quantity triple in a short time.
It is time for a change in mentality, time to accept that present regulations do not work.
As far as Canada is concerned we are happy to rescue dogs from your Island, based on our animal health standards, not on those imposed by a few individuals whose existing policies have failed completely.
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