Some ideas to solve the problem of overpopulation … – LetrasLibres.com (Subscription)

In large cities such as the CDMX, the stray dogs are already a plague, with environmental costs is extremely high. How can we help the animals and prevent the problem continues on the increase? What can we learn from others failures, and some cases of success?

The fauna city has been following, over the years, to the man. The abundant food and other factors made that these species will find an optimal environment to live and reproduce[1], becoming, in some cases, in public health problems.

Of all these animals that have been our shadow along the years, perhaps the most notable case is that of the dogs. A few thirty and two thousand years the man decided to feed the wolves and jackals in exchange for protection. From there began a link between the canis and the human. The outcome of this story as we know it: the dogs that steal the socks and wag their tails upon seeing us. To be the first animals that we domesticate have resulted in a closer link with us: we invite you openly to our homes and, in general, even when they are sympathetic to all over the world, tend not to cause repulsion as occurs with other animals that also are potential pests. Dogs are emotionally connected with the protection, the help, the game and the company. However, despite our predilection for these animals, often abandon you and, in hatcheries clandestine, the reproduction of dogs of the breed continues to increase. As a result, the number of stray dogs is very high and reaches, in some places, the proportions of a pest.

Perhaps should be made here to review the concept of plague because, by the negative charge of the term, there are some who refuses to acknowledge that some animals are. “Plague” refers to a situation in which, due to an ecological imbalance, a species starts to reproduce in an uncontrolled way, affecting other species or the environment. Any kind, with the right conditions, can become a pest[2]. The cities and urban centers are spaces that are conducive to those animals that regularly interact with the idea of plague without there being something inherently evil in these species[3].

Let’s go back to the dogs. There is No exact figure of the dog population in the world, but the numbers match in that there are hundreds of millions of dogs. Only in Mexico it is estimated that there are between 18 and 23 million, according to the Mexican Association of Veterinary Medical Specialists in Small animals (AMMVEPE) and that 70% of those dogs are stray. Due to the reproductive characteristics of these animals, and the numbers grow with speed. Just to give an idea: in six years, from a single litter can produce sixty-seven thousand puppies. It is evident that there is a problem of canine overpopulation.

Over the years it has tried to address this problem in several ways, some shameful. In 1911, in Turkey, for example, Mehmed V, the ruler of Istanbul ordered the stray dogs of the city were exiled to Sivriada, a deserted island in the sea of Marmara. When you do not have the conditions to survive, the animals ate each other out while others died of starvation or drowned trying to escape. When four years ago the government of Istanbul is proposed to create zones for street dogs, many people opposed at the memory of that painful mistake and the proposal was discarded. Transporting stray dogs from one place to another has been shown to not solve any problem.

Moscow[4], Bangkok, Deli, and –as we well know– Mexico City are other cities which are facing a huge number of stray dogs and the potential health risks they pose[5]. The most well known of these problems is rabies, as more than 90% of the cases of this disease are due to bites from infected dogs. However, there are more than sixty diseases that can be transmitted to humans, affecting, primarily, the mucous membranes and the digestive system; the toxocariasis, which is transmitted by parasites in the faeces of dogs, for example, can cause fever, asthma, and eye infections that in severe cases can end in detachment of the retina. On more than one occasion has tried to eliminate the problem by killing the dogs. Regardless of the ethical question, more a solution to this as it is only a palliative that does not attack the causes of the problem. Stray dogs have their origin in the abandonment and the neglect of the human. We are creating an environment conducive to the uncontrolled reproduction of dogs, which, incidentally, face a short life of hunger, injuries and illnesses. To counteract the situation we must take measures that impact really in the conditions that lead to the dogs to wander through the streets and this can be done from several fronts.

Animal protection World emphasizes the importance of sterilization of both stray dogs and pets, responsible ownership[6] and registration of animals and education regarding topics such as adoption and kennels. These were the steps that helped the Netherlands to become a country free of stray dogs. It is essential that we seek the creation of stricter laws regarding the sale, breeding and keeping of pets and reivindiquemos the image of the mongrel dogs as one of the main engines that drives people to buy dogs instead of adopt is the idea of the dog breed as “best animals”. In a situation like the current one, buying a dog is to continue funding the uncontrolled reproduction of these, and all that this implies, by which some countries (the Netherlands among them) have put a hard tax to these animals achieving a reduction in the demand of dog kennel and increase the adoptions of mixed race.

The vast majority of the stray dogs should be abandoned. Leaving a dog that lived with us his luck talks about how we interact not only with them but with the rest of the animals. Legally, a dog is a “good piece of furniture,” such as a refrigerator or a table, that is to say has a owner (in case you don’t have it declares that it is “well-mostrenco”, as an object abandoned). And that is the word that we usually use to speak of the relationship that has a man with his dog: owner. Returning to the case of the netherlands, this relationship has changed during the last few years. It went from being a relationship of owner / slave (or employer-employee) to be more similar to a relationship of friendship and even kinship. When a dog becomes emotionally a part of the human life the idea of feeding it to the street seems much more distant. In many other places in the relationship with animals is still a relationship of power and verticality in which the utilitarian value tends to be the main loop. As soon as an animal ceases to be “useful” is rejected. In the case of dogs, most of the times, is abandoned[7]. A solution to the problem of stray dogs in Mexico, you might begin by reconsidering the relationship you have with them and to sensitize people so that they can recognize the animals independent creatures with feelings and emotions.

Dogs are our partners for excellence, and decide to let one of our life is to make a promise to long-term. Who falls in love with a dog falls in love with the entire species and, though they may feel a certain predilection for certain colours, shapes of nose or sizes, you will find in all of them the same affection that they found our ancestors in those wild beasts that they became friends.

[1] In the chapter “Cities” of Planet Earth 2 will deal with the cases of various animals that, protected by the noise, the buildings and human settlements have been drawn more and more to the cities. Thus, for example, there are cases of leopards to hunt domestic animals in India or falcons fitted comfortably in New York.

[2] In The ínsulas strange, Ernesto Cardenal speaks of the various pests to which they faced in the archipelago of Solentiname, Nicaragua. Among other animals mentioned grackles, parrots, and deer.

[3] Under these parameters we would consider us, humans, as a pest.

[4] The stray dogs of Moscow deserve a special mention. Andrei Poyarkov, a biologist expert in dogs has been studied for thirty years and has found patterns of behavior amazing. To give an example, Poyarkov has discovered groups of dogs “beggars” that sent smaller animals and young people to ask for food to humans since they have learned that these dogs tend to receive more frequent food. Another behavior amazing the stray dogs of Moscow is that some of them have learned to use the subway: these animals live in the outskirts of the town, and daily go up to the wagons to go to sites more villages to eat.

[5] The most recognized of these problems is rabies, as the bite of dogs remains the main cause of this disease in humans, but the parasites that harbor these animals can cause about seventy different diseases in people, being the most common digestive diseases and the eye.

[6] This involves, among other things, to vaccinate and deworm our dogs to prevent them from becoming potential sources of contagion.

[7] Other times it is the same owner who brings her dog to sacrifice. More than half of the sacrifices of dogs in Mexico are by the will of the owners.

Canine Association Malaga

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