Sri Lanka refutes reports on reverting to mass culling of stray dogs

Jan 09, Colombo: A spokesman for Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Health has disputed the recent media reports that said the government is to lift a moratorium on killing stray dogs as a mean to control their population and prevent rabies.

The Ministry spokesman has told the state media that the Ministry is planning to launch an awareness campaign to educate the public on responsible pet ownership and on proper garbage disposal as means to control the growth of stray dog numbers.

The Minister of Health Maithripala Sirisena during inspection tours at Kalutara and Polonnaruwa hospitals recently has raised the issue of stray dogs and pointed out the need for an effective mechanism to curb the stray dog menace.

According to the officials, dog population has increased to nearly 3 million despite attempts at sterilization to control the growth.

The Minister has noted that while the government spends one billion rupees per year, the sterilization programs have failed to yield the results.

Between 2,000 and 2,500 people are reported bitten every day by stray dogs, and the treatment of dog bites and rabies had cost the government Rs.500 million annually while an anti-rabies injection cost Rs.30,000, the Minister has pointed out.

The spokesman has dismissed the idea of killing stray dogs as it is not an effective option since the dogs that would be caught first would be harmless ones and once the harmless ones are removed the more menacing ones will come out from hiding.

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