News / Africa

West Africa Fights Dog Overpopulation

A dog sits on the steps of a door into the compound of a traditional colonial-era Board House dating back about a century in the Murray Town neighborhood of Sierra Leone's capital Freetown, April 28, 2012.
A dog sits on the steps of a door into the compound of a traditional colonial-era Board House dating back about a century in the Murray Town neighborhood of Sierra Leone's capital Freetown, April 28, 2012.
One of Sierra's Leone's five veterinarians wants to share his views at the first international conference on dog population management this week in Britain. The West Africa region has a massive overpopulation of dogs, but its representative to the conference may not be able to attend.

They say dogs are man's best friend, but here at a Freetown animal clinic Doctor Gudosh Jalloh is struggling just to keep them alive.

Some dogs do not make it to his clinic.  "There are so many people killing dogs, because of rabies," said the vet.

Rabies is a huge problem in West Africa, but Dr. Jalloh says killing is not the answer, vaccination is.   

One of the topics being discussed at the conference in Britain is how to control rabies among huge dog populations, but Dr. Jalloh says he may not be able to attend because his visa did not arrive in time.  He was supposed to represent West Africa at the meeting.  

He says it a frustrating situation because he may miss out on an opportunity to share and exchange ideas with others from around the world.

"They would have loved to listen to what I am telling them, and with the gaps how we are managing to solve this problem," said Dr. Jalloh.

According to the World Society for the Protection of Animals, Sierra Leone has one of the largest stray dog populations in Africa, about 100,000.   Dr. Jalloh and his staff have sterilized 19,000 dogs since 2005, which has helped to decrease the population, but more needs to be done he says.

It is an issue the Sierra Leone government says it is also trying to deal with.  

Ministry of Agriculture Assistant Director for Animal Health, Doctor Mohamed Barrie, says stray dogs are a consistent problem.

He says many dogs end up on the street when owners do not want them anymore.  There, they multiply, which is one factor that leads to overpopulation.  

Dr. Barrie says the government is looking at revising the animal disease act and wants stricter fines for people abusing or neglecting a dog.  

"We were working on 1945 legislation, but just last year revised, now we have sent to law office department for vetting,from there it will go to parliament," he said.

He adds the conference in Britain is relevant for African countries because what happens to dogs can affect people, such as contracting tape worm.

"By licking your hand or skin, if a dog is infected, the egg will hatch, go into the skin and then larvae will hatch and can cause serious problem in human," said Dr. Barrie.

But getting humans to care in Sierra Leone does have challenges, says Dr. Jalloh.  Often neglected dogs and puppies are just dumped at his clinic.  

He says he realizes in a country where so many are living in poverty, dogs are not a priority, but he is starting to see attitudes are slowly changing.  

"We have got people now paying, the little income they get they pay to treat animals," said Dr. Jalloh.

Even with people spending more, the clinic is barely making ends meet.  Vaccinations used to be free, but there is no funding to make that happen anymore.

Dr. Jalloh says another good reason to attend the conference would be the opportunity to network with possible donors. "The funds are not there, we do not have [enough for] medicine cost, we do not have the staff," he said.

His staff members make only about $100 a month.  Despite the low pay, vet technician Teddy Mannah says he loves his job.  

"I think I am satisfied to lie on my bed and ask myself what have I done today?   I have rescued one or two dogs, helped reduce pain and stress from dogs, that makes me happy.  Actually it is not just about going to the bank or working somewhere fully  air conditioned, but conscience.  I am happy, I am not going to get rich working here, but my contribution makes me feel I am rich."

Dr. Jalloh says the key to dealing with so many dogs is mainly more education for owners to get dogs neutered and vaccinated, so the problem can continue to decrease and dogs can live decent lives among humans.  He says he will continue to advocate for the dogs of Sierra Leone.

You May Like

Australia Knights Prince Philip, Sparking National Outrage

Abbott's surprise reintroduction of knights and dames in the country's honors system last year drew criticism that he was out of touch with national sentiment More

SAG Award Boosts 'Birdman' Oscar Hopes

Individual acting Oscars appear to be sewn up: SAG awards went to artists who won Golden Globes: Julianne Moore, Eddie Redmayne, Patricia Arquette, J.K. Simmons More

Katy Perry Lights Way for Super Bowl's Girl Power Moment

Pop star's selection to headline US football championship's halftime show extends NFL's trend of selecting artists who appeal to younger viewers More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sidesi
X
June Soh
January 23, 2015 10:03 PM
The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, even music are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. Faith Lapidus narrates a report from VOA’s June Soh.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, even music are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. Faith Lapidus narrates a report from VOA’s June Soh.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid