Desexing scheme for stray dogs has failed in Lamma village

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 16 January, 2014, 12:43am
UPDATED : Friday, 17 January, 2014, 4:42pm

In the universe of horrible ideas, the subject of the report ("Scheme to desex stray dogs ready for trial run", January 13) outshines them all.

Shame on the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department for even contemplating such an ineffective scheme, especially in the light of the ongoing struggle to contain over 50 stray dogs (and growing) which are the products of a similar, albeit failed, desexing experiment in the Lamma village of Lo So Shing where I live.

This "trap, neuter and release" experiment was funded in part by a university grant to research the impact of desexing canines as an alternative to targeted removal. It was supported by animal welfare organisations and individuals, and only recently disclosed to local residents after the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department pulled its support in August.

To put this failure into perspective, less than five years ago, there were only about three to five strays living on the beach, and the village was peaceful. Now there is conflict between neighbours and with the authorities.

Your report did not look at the medium-term post-operative care for these strays once they are reintroduced to village life.

Once a dog is released, animal welfare organisations predict the average life expectancy is three years before the department is called in to haul the dog's body away. In the meantime, the dogs need access to food and medicine.

Nightly, supporters of this scheme are observed shovelling large quantities of dog food onto our village paths.

As the food piles up, dogs from outside the scheme learn of the free feed and happily descend on our village, some of whom are females in heat, with the inevitable consequences.

The amount of feed required to satisfy 40-plus dogs is enormous and is an organised process.

At a certain point, these dogs find it difficult to live sociably together, resulting in regular dog fights, targeted attacks on refuse bins and bags, and overall aggressive pack behaviour as strays look to protect their turf.

The scheme has been a failure.

The only way to truly correct the stray dog problem is to get people to stop feeding and sheltering stray dogs.

The department has the authority to designate problem areas as "no-feed zones".

This, coupled with harsh financial penalties and daily enforcement, will ensure success. Any other option is just foolish and naive.

Adam Bornstein, Lamma