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Every year, for over 15 years, more than 2,000 dogs were rounded up and gassed in the city of Colombo, causing horrific suffering to every single one of them. But thanks to a WSPA-funded project, Colombo’s dogs are safer and healthier than ever before.
In the 1990s, Colombo’s roaming dog population was unhealthy and growing out of control. Fearing rabies, city authorities sanctioned the mass killing of dogs, despite many being considered pets by local people.
A third of the city’s dogs disappeared from thestreets.Rabies didn’t. At its peak, 70 dog rabies cases were reported in Colombo, despite the horrendous and painful deaths of thousands of dogs.
In 2007, WSPA and Sri Lankan organisation Blue Paw Trust worked together to convince authorities to stop their cruel, costly and failing approach and allow us to run a mass dog vaccination and public education programme in the city – protecting dogs, protecting people and rebuilding the trust between them.
The results were startling: in year one, dog rabies cases halved. And they have continued to fall year on year as the vaccination programme has grown. At the end of 2010 there were just 10 cases in the entire city – down from a frightening peak of 70 during the culling years.
Blue Paw Trust report that Colombo’s roaming dogs are now not only safer, but also healthier, suggesting local people are feeding and caring for them without fear. The collars vaccinated dogs are given are a symbol of protection and hope.
With your support, dogs can be safer everywhere. Visitors from 11 governments have seen the Colombo project in action: they witnessed a city rewarded for its compassion. We want to work with governments worldwide to encourage them to implement the only humane solution.