Colombo Mayoress Rosy Senanayake agreed to put up a dog shelter in the existing dog pounds premises in Borella as a long term solution to the stray dogs issue in Colombo.
This decision was taken at a meeting held yesterday with a few animal welfare organisation representatives.
“This will not be an immediate solution as there needs to be a proper planning first. However, what we immediately need to do is to remove dogs in the Viharamaha Devi Park. There are people who complain about them. Children don’t have a way to use the children’s park in Crow Island for example because there are so many dogs.”
She further said that the dog pound is a temporary shelter for the animals and most of them were kept their during the lockdown period.
“In future we will refurbish the premises and make it a halfway house for dogs until they are being taken for adoption,” she said.
When the participants inquired about sterilisation programmes, Dr. Mohamed Ijas, Veterinary Surgeon at Colombo Municipal Council’s Rabies Control Programme said that they have to go through many procedures when purchasing medicines.
“Therefore, only around 250 dogs have been sterilised during 2019 as only two veterinary surgeons are currently in the cadre.”
In response, the Mayoress therefore directed the officials to draw up a comprehensive plan for sterilising dogs within two weeks.
However, the participants pointed out that before the plan is drawn that the CMC needs to assess the situation, do a survey on the number of dogs that need to be sterilised, identify the current capacity and the resources that are required.
Apart from that, a 13-point policy framework for the Humane Management of Dogs, Cats and other animals in CMC areas was presented to the Mayor.
Some of its pre-requisites include training dog catchers, including dog free zones at parks and other areas, importation of oral rabies tablets for dogs, volunteers from organisations to work at the dog pound, issuance of breeder’s licence for non-neutered licenced dogs among others.
Mayoress Senanayake further refuted claims about five dogs being removed, but said only two were removed.
In response, one of the participants apologised for the false rumours that were being spread.
While agreeing to most of it, she also pointed out certain practical issues and how the central government too needs to be involved in the process.
She therefore requested all participants to work with her to look for solutions on matters relating to stray animals in Colombo. (Kamanthi Wickramasinghe)