The Ministry of Agro-Industry and Food Security signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Humane Society International (HSI), this morning at the seat of the Ministry in Port-Louis, to mark the start of a pilot project to sterilise 10,000 dogs as part of a new humane street dog population control project.
The collaborative one-year pilot project, to be funded by both parties, will run from 20 February 2018 to March 2019. Eleven regions in the district of Flacq will be targeted during the initial pilot phase. The objectives are to spay/neuter 10,000 dogs, create community awareness and sensitise the public regarding the need for sterilisation and vaccination, amongst others.
In his address, the Minister of Agro-Industry and Food Security, Mr Mahen Seeruttun, highlighted that the signing of the MoU, is one of the major initiatives currently being taken by the Government to deal with the issue of stray and roaming dogs in the country. He pointed out that Mauritius has an estimated dog population of 250,000 and some 57,000 roaming dogs, and added that this initiative will serve to bring a relief to animal neglect and suffering.
He underlined that the Mauritius Society for Animal Welfare is committed to promote kindness, prevent or suppress cruelty to animals and ensure animals protection. He announced that since the launch of the sterilisation campaign in 2015, which aims at reducing the street dog population, some 10,000 dogs and cats have been sterilised. According to him, the expertise of the HSI will undoubtedly help to boost up efforts to address the problem in the country.
Moreover, Minister Seeruttun underpinned the necessity to sensitise the public and educate pet owners on how to treat animals with respect, in order to deal with the stray dogs issue at all levels. As regards prevention of animal cruelty, he emphasised that the necessary measures are being taken at the level of the Animal Welfare Unit and added that additional staff has been recruited to reinforce its services.
As for the Director of the Companion Animals and Engagement HSI, Mr Rahul Sengal, he stressed that the project will help reduce the street dog population in a humane and sustainable way. The project, he said, ultimately aims to bring about a sustainable and scientific model to control street dogs in Mauritius, on a long-term basis.
The project will be implemented through a HSI-staffed spay/neuter clinic which will be operational as from 01 April in addition of a mobile clinic that will provide free sterilisations for dogs in Flacq.