July 17, 2020
Photo: Senior Veterinary Dr.Beato Lenoa assisted by AH&P Elenoa Ratubola during the TNR exercise in Malolo
The Animal Health and Production Division (AH&P) of the Ministry of Agriculture is working on ways to address the increase in the number of stray dogs and dog attacks around the country.
To curb the problem of stray dogs, the Ministry of Agriculture veterinarians and support staff perform the ongoing Trapping, Neutering and Releasing (TNR) exercise in Fiji as part of the Stray Animal Control Program. This long-term exercise reduces the stray dog population by preventing them from reproducing and allows the stray dog population to die out naturally.
The exercises also involve partners from the private sector, mainly the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), Animals Fiji, and Vet Essentials when needed.
In recent years, there has been an annual Charles Sturt University outreach neutering program that also involved the Ministry of Agriculture de-sexing services in outer islands and in Suva.
A stray animal is an animal that is not tethered, not confined to the owner's property and does not have any official identification (brands, ear tags, license). For dogs, the legally recognized identification are the dog licenses issued from any Ministry of Agriculture AH&P office or veterinary clinic.
Recently, a Trapping, Neutering and Releasing (TNR) campaign was held at Yanuya village in Malolo by the Senior Veterinary Officer Dr Beato Lenoa and AH&P staff from the Ministry of Agriculture.
This was after requests by the village headmen of the concern on the increase in the number of dogs and dog attacks on villagers and livestock.
Following the TNR operation on the island, the Ministry of Agriculture staff carried out awareness on the importance of responsible pet ownership.
The Ministry also allows for adoption and rehoming of the de-sexed stray dogs, and members of the public who are pet lovers will only need to pay for the license for the rehoming and adoption of these dogs, which is $13.20 per dog. The license is valid from January 1st to December 31st for every calender year.
For those de-sexed dogs that have not been claimed or rehomed within a certain period of time, these are released back into the areas they were trapped in as part of the TNR program.
A total of 682 stray dogs were captured during the 8-week Stray Dog Control Campaign which was carried out concurrently throughout urban and peri-urban areas in the country from 17 June till 09 August 2019.
Of the total dogs caught during the Campaign, 432 dogs were neutered, 91 dogs were re-homed with 373 dogs being released back into the areas in which they were initially trapped. The remainder were humanely euthanized based on either severe health or temperamental reasons.