India and Sri Lanka have a long and complex relationship with street dogs, with community tolerance and dog welfare often being directly impacted by fear of rabies and bites. Additionally, dog ownership has increased rapidly in the region, but a lack of understanding of a dog’s needs has led to high incidence of maltreatment and abandonment, adding to street dog numbers.
But coexistence is possible, and we aim to achieve healthy, stable and managed dog populations, living in communities with collective knowledge about animal welfare, and having access to professionals for assistance.
Limited veterinary services
Companion animal veterinary care and surgical skills development has historically been lacking in the region’s veterinary training. This has resulted in a shortage of high-quality veterinary resource needed for the humane management of owned and unowned dogs and an unwillingness of owners to commit their pets to private vets for neutering, with cost also being a barrier.
High rates of Rabies
Dog-mediated rabies in India accounts for 59% of human rabies deaths in Asia and whilst rates are lower in Sri Lanka, rabies is still endemic and the cause of human death annually. Fear of rabies often drives negative behaviour towards dogs, leading to cruelty, relocation and culling.
What we’ll do:
We want to see free-roaming dogs coexisting in numbers which are acceptable to community members and the authorities.
We want dogs to be provided with timely and appropriate veterinary care to ensure their lives are not burdened by breeding, illness or injury.
We want a rabies free India and Sri Lanka where the annual rabies vaccination of owned and unowned dogs is proactive and commonplace, especially in rural areas which are disproportionately impacted by the disease.
How we’ll do it:
Dogs Trust subsidiary WVS runs 2 International Training Centres in India providing vet training as well as conducting spay neuter programmes.
Mission Rabies as part of WVS is fighting to eliminate human deaths due to dog bite transmitted rabies.
Dogs Trust Worldwide also runs neutering and vaccination programmes with trusted local partners, as well as engaging with government and wider stakeholders to change human behaviour around dog welfare.
If you are interested in our work in India or Sri Lanka and share our mission, please get in touch at email@example.com