The Nairobi county government will spend Sh.100 million to kill stray dogs in the next one year as part of measures to improve the business environment and rid the community of a perpetual nuisance.
The County Director of Veterinary Services, Dr. Muriithi Muhari said there were more than 50,000 stray dogs every year in the city locality.
The presence of wandering dogs, he noted, had caused disturbance to various business activities, interrupted people attending medical centres, markets and bitten school going children and usually cause road accidents on various roads.
The city, he said, was grappling with a crisis on the influx of stray dogs in public places and informal settlement areas, adding that 70 out of 85 county wards were hot spots as far as homeless dogs are concerned.
Muriithi added that the County will soon roll out a programme aimed at humanely killing all stray dogs in the city using a shot gun similar to the one used on cows so that the canines do not suffer and added that currently they were being impounded them on routine basis.
Shooting to kill stray dogs was even recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO), said Dr. Muriithi.
The Sh.100 million that will be mobilised, he explained, will finance purchase of shot guns, expand facilities for the
animal accommodation, burial sites and incineration facilities.
Dr. Muriithi who was speaking during a media breakfast organized by World Animal Protection (WAP) at a Nairobi hotel noted that every year over 6,000 cases of dog bites and injuries are reported adding that between last year and this year five cases of deaths due to emergence of rabies following dog bites have been reported.
Currently, Dr. Muriithi said, there is a shift in animal protection through the Nairobi County Dog Control and Welfare Act of 2015 whose regulations are in place and whose provisions were being enforced.
To ensure that the population is aware, Dr. Muriithi said that they are carrying out a campaign together with the World Animal Protection to enlighten the public of the act and on how the society can and should take care of their animals.
We have laws that allow people to keep animals provided they are in the good environment, their health and welfare is taken care of , he said and appealed to animal activists to assist in this saying there has to be balance between economy, human and animal health and the three must be done.
Dr. Muiriithi further urged counties to come up with welfare programmes that are able to manage the population of the animals especially dogs in a humane way.
He however noted that the County is still grappling with the cost of the vaccine which is not affordable to most people.
Although the vaccine is expensive, the County government is to subsidize especially for those owners of dogs at the informal settlements, he said adding that they are working with partners to ensure the vaccination is given free.
Presently private veterinarians charge between Sh. 1000 and Sh. 2000 for the vaccine and the government has been charging between sh.300 and Sh. 500 depending on the type of dog.
During the media breakfast session, a study dubbed Better Life for Dogs: Exploring Attitudes and Behaviour towards Roaming Dogs revealed that most Nairobians owning dogs hardly know how to take care of the animal thus the high rate of roaming dogs.
The study conducted in September 2018 by WAP in four other countries -India, Thailand, Brazil and China noted that although Kenya has some legislations promoting welfare of livestock, they are poorly enforced thus exposing the same to dangerous environments.
According to Dr. Emily Mudoga from the World Animal Welfare, the study shows that in the recent past Nairobians with dogs have been violating the laws regulating keeping the animals by releasing their dogs that are becoming a nuisance to the public.
For instance, Dr. Mudoga said the study report which was based on Karen, Kibera and Kawangware areas found that 50 percent of the people who own dogs let their dogs stray especially at night.
Most owners of dogs however, Dr. Mudoga said, acknowledged that they need to be taught how to take care of their dogs, how to feed and what health care to give to their dogs including grooming.
When it comes to vaccination, she noted that people were aware of rabies and that their dogs need to be vaccinated but they do not know where and which facilities to take the dogs be it private or public, but for those who have sources of facilities, the costing is unaffordable.
We need to come together and rethink together with government and private veterinarian on how we can bring solutions on the dog menace especially in Nairobi.
If we do not resolve this problem we will have more compounding problems in future that have negative repercussions, Dr. Mudoga said.
Source: Kenya News Agency