Mayoress of Colombo Rosy Senanayake yesterday denied reports that the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) decided to kill stray dogs that are loitering in Viharamahadevi Park and within the Colombo City as a whole.
The Mayoress issuing a statement said the CMC intends to come out with a sustainable solution with regard to the stray dogs through a dialogue with all stakeholders.
"During the curfew time, due to the non-availability of food, many stray dogs were congregating around the Viharamahadevi Park and were being fed by the CMC, the Mayoress herself and other socially minded people.
Due to the lack of food during those times there was a large congregation of dogs at the park in addition to the dogs which were resident around that area.
There have been mounting complaints to the park administration from park users, the public and from the park workers themselves that some of these dogs are aggressive and have chased after walkers, cyclists and even children.
Also, eight ducks who were resident in the park have also been attacked and killed by dogs in the last month," the statement said.
"Due to this the Veterinary Department took measures to identify the more aggressive dogs resident at the park and relocate them temporarily until a more permanent solution can be found. As a matter of information two dogs were removed yesterday, as they were identified as being aggressive. All other dogs remain in the area.
Therefore, the stories floating around that all dogs from Viharamahadevi have been removed, to be eventually put down is false and that orders have gone out to remove all street dogs is also false.
Anyone who cares to visit the park today or even did so yesterday would have observed that still there are dogs in and around the park. There are presently eight dogs, in addition to the two dogs brought in yesterday, at the CMC facilities, of which three are for sterilization, four for observation as they have bitten people on the street and one extremely aggressive dog which cannot be released due to its nature.
Also, the CMC has not put down any stray dogs in the last few years and will not be doing so in the future. This is a fact well known by all animal welfare groups.
What we hope to do is develop our halfway house facilities which will be a holding place for stray dogs until foster homes can be found for them. We have invited animal welfare activists to discuss steps we like to take in this regard and also obtain their valuable input and assistance to better manage these facilities.
We trust that this has shed light on what has actually happened and will put things in perspective. The Mayoress personally visited the facility. Further to this visit, the two dogs in question will be inoculated and she has ordered that they be released at the park until a long term sustainable solution can be found to the issue of stray dogs in consultation with all stakeholders," the statement added. (Yohan Perera)