Initial consultation with the community demonstrated a fear concerning nuisance of dogs on the streets and threat of rabies and dog bites. In addition street dogs often suffer from malnutrition, chronic skin disease, cancers and poor welfare. The community did not however wish to see such dogs handled poorly, continue having unwanted puppies nor suffer. Meanwhile rabies remains endemic, and dog bites relatively prevalent, resulting in enormous cost (financial and social) in bite and post-rabies exposure treatments annually. The Colombo Municipal Council operates a dog registration and vaccination scheme and a small dog pound which would benefit from improvements to its dog handling, housing and general operation. It was therefore an important opportunity, not only to reduce dog bite and human rabies incidence but also significantly improve local dog management, welfare and related attitudes to progress towards an environment of responsible dog ownership and sustainable population and rabies control; a dog safe environment.
The overall aim of this project is to develop and implement a comprehensive and sustainable humane dog population and rabies management programme for Colombo Municipal Area. In June 2007 commenced a pilot project, in advance of a full five year project, with three partners: World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA), Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) and the Blue Paw Trust (BPT).
- To provide consistent management and communication between all partners and stakeholders.
- To assess and monitor the population size, dynamics and sources of street dogs plus attitudinal survey of the community.
- To implement sterilization, rabies vaccination and registration in the field in collaboration with the CMC where owner dog delivery as opposed to dog catching will be a significant element on which to build responsible pet ownership.
- To advise and support humane improvements to the CMC pound and its operation plus review existing private dog registration system and legislation.
- Vaccination by BPT of roaming dogs > 80 % of roaming dog population. - Photos
- Sterilization of roaming female dogs > 70 % of roaming female dog population - Photos
- Dog rabies cases from an average of 35 (1992-2007) to 10 at end of 2010 and 8 detected as at end 2011.
- Education of school children and adults on bite prevention, rabies awareness and responsible dog ownership - Photos
- 63102 primary school children (almost 90% of schools covered) - Photos
- 19836 secondary school children (35 schools) - Photos
- 4615 community members (42 programs) - Photos
- Dog Managed Zones – 6 (2 hospitals, 1 school and 3 Government offices). An innovative program providing tailored solutions to minimize conflict between the public and dogs in high risk public locations. - Photos
- Reduction in number of lactating bitches and pups (from 25 % in 2007 to almost 0 % in 2011) - Photos
- Training of CMC staff in humane dog handling, catching, and veterinary techniques