15th of October, 2017 21°16'45.6"S 55°28'46.4"E
STRAY DOGS ON REUNION ISLAND
The number of stray dogs, especially on islands is increasing constantly. Whether being abandoned, born in the streets, on the run or lost – there is a huge amount of dogs living in the streets. In fact there are too many stray dogs which even leads to a serious public problem. These dogs are in most cases sick, injured and sometimes aggressive. Public places, streets or beaches is certainly not the environment dogs should live in. We are focusing on the problem in Reunion Island and how we adopted one of these abandoned dogs. However, this is not a problem only existing on Reunion – several islands like Mauritius, Mayotte or Tahiti are facing similar situations.
If you live or have been in Reunion Island you will notice a high number of not only stray dogs but dead dogs on the side of the highway. This image is sadly part of the landscape of Reunion and it has become almost “normal’’ to see decomposed dogs on the road while going to work or to the beach. Today there are around 300 000 dogs on the streets of Reunion Island for approximately 850 000 people. Several reasons to this problem:
1. People abandon their dogs – yes a dog is cute, a great playing partner and guardian but it is a huge responsibility. It takes a lot of time, money, patience, and effort to raise a dog properly. Some people do not realize this – same as they are not aware of fact that a dog will bark, chew your favorite pair of shoes, destroy the nice roses you just planted, needs a lot of food, attention and will get bigger and bigger. Consequently, dogs are abandoned in the streets, left alone in fields, dropped in front of supermarkets because it simply became too much of a responsibility. Therefore it would be very important to educate and raise awareness on the actual situation before they make the decision to get a dog. Awareness campaigns have to be raised in schools, on the streets, tv or any other platform to change the mindset of the people.
2. Dogs make babies – Most dogs on the streets are not sterilized and castrated which automatically leads to an increasing number of stray dogs. The government encourages to regulate the sterilization on domestic dogs by certain activities. At the moment, sterilization campaigns are being organized on Reunion Island by municipalities. According to the city you live in, nontaxable households are able to sterilize and identify their animals (dogs and cats) for free. A great action from the government knowing the high cost of the surgery operation. However, few people are using this opportunity – due to a missing communication of the campaign or people having a no care attitude.
300 000 stray dogs
6570 dogs and 2373 cats euthanized in 2015 (18% of the national total)
6147 animals dead on the road
Which counts up to 15 000 dead animals in 2015.
Dogs refuges are over packed which explains the high number of euthanized animals. That’s why we encourage people to adopt rather than buying or importing dogs.
Here is the happy side of the story – five months ago we adopted a puppy that we named Lima. One of our family friends took her home after she was kicked out of a car, during the day, in traffic jam – a classic method here on Reunion since people have no shame and few are being punished by the law for this.
Lima is now almost 8 months old and she is a crossbreed dog. We don’t know exactly what mix of breeds she has and we honestly don’t care. She is smart, agile, fast, funny, cute and healthy.
When we got her she had some infection on the belly, missed some hair, was very shy and afraid of the car which is due to the experience she made. Being kicked out of the car left a traumatic experience on her which we are currently trying to take away step by step.
Playing with coconuts and with the fishes in the small pond in the garden or chasing lizards are some of her favorite activities.
Here some pictures of the little monster growing up.
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