A leading Duhoki veterinary surgeon is calling on federal and local authorities to adopt a more humane approach to the persistent problem of stray dogs throughout Iraq.
Dr Sulaiman Tameer believes that the introduction of a ‘neuter and release’ system, similar to the policy in Istanbul, would prove far more effective than the current method of shooting strays dead. Tameer proposes a Humane Animal Protection Control (HAPC) program to tackle the problem.
He quotes statistics from a 2012 edition of Almada newspaper to illustrate the futility of the police being charged with killing the animals. 207,000 stray dogs were shot dead in 2012, 93,368 of them in Baghdad. Current figures are not available, but the capital continues to have a sizeable problem.
The HAPC program proposes that strays are rounded up and taken to a shelter for processing. Aggressive or injured animals will remain at the shelter, but healthy, calm ones will be neutered, tagged and returned to the area in which they were originally found. The Capture, Neuter, Vaccinate, Register and Return (CNVRR) policy works well in Istanbul, where in less conservative areas dogs are not considered a nuisance – indeed many are seen as part of the neighbourhood and treated as communal pets.
Such a project would require significant investment, but Tameer insists it would be a harmonious, humane solution to a persistent problem.