Talk of dogs in Bahrain amid demos & shooting

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From ANIMAL PEOPLE,  March 2011:

Talk of dogs in Bahrain amid demos & shooting

MANAMA-– Thousands of opponents of the regime of King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa of Bahrain reoccupied central Manama on February 20,  2011 after troops were withdrawn,  following gunfire that left at least five protesters dead and 25 missing.

Amid the demonstrations,  which began on Valentine’s Day, “Residents across Bahrain have come out in force with suggestions on how to tackle the increasing number of stray dogs plaguing the country,”  reported Basma Mohammed of Gulf News.  “Dozens of e-mails have been sent to Central Municipal Council chair Abdulrazzaq Al Hattab following his appeal,”  on February 8,  “for ideas to find a solution to the problem.  The animals have been accused of attacking cattle and leaving many residents too afraid to leave their homes at night.”
Basma Mohammed said Bahrain councillors were “looking for ways to solve the issue without resorting to the old method of shooting strays.  It is estimated that there are at least 1,000 stray dogs roaming the streets of the governorate,”  Mohammed wrote.
“Some suggestions included establishing animal shelters across Bahrain and allowing people to adopt a pet,  following the example of western countries,”  Basma Mohammed continued.  “Others call for pet owners to be forced to have electronic tags fitted to their animals and pay a fee to go toward monitoring strays. Many called for the stray dogs to be caught and be spayed or neutered, while others warned of a possible outbreak of rabies and a need to have sufficient stocks of post-exposure vaccine.”
Al Hattab told Gulf News that “plans are underway to organise a workshop to finalise suggestions and take them over to the Public Commission for the Protection of Marine Resources,  Environment and Wildlife to get their views.  They can adopt the ideas that seem practical and help push them to the government.  A committee will then be established to implement approved suggestions.”
TNR Bahrain founder Ben van Hoogen,  working with the Dutch organization  AniMedics,  estimated in 2009 that about 25,000 feral cats and 15,000 street dogs roam Bahrain.  “People don’t see the whole problem because cats and dogs hide away in the day time,”  van Hoogen told Gulf News in April 2010,  “but after 2 a.m. you see hundreds.”



—Merritt Clifton

Merritt Clifton
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Clinton,  WA  98236



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