Only 5% of dogs have owners in most economically developing countries. In comparison, about 95% of dogs have owners in the United States. Animal shelters and dog rescue organizations work globally to reduce stray dog populations, which benefits both dogs and people. In addition to saving canine lives, rescuing dogs can reduce poverty by improving human health and safety.
Health Benefits of Rescuing Stray Dogs
Every year, around 55,000 people die from rabies, and half of them are children. According to the World Health Organization, 99% of people who die from rabies live in economically developing countries. Rescuing stray dogs can reduce the number of people who contract and die from rabies. It can also minimize the transmission of other canine diseases onto humans, including viral, parasitic and bacterial diseases. Disease prevention tends to be less expensive than treatment; as such, limiting the spread of diseases like rabies can be economically friendly.
While some organizations try to find homes for stray dogs, others simply focus on stray dog sterilization and vaccination. For example, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) aims to reduce stray dog populations by capturing, sterilizing, then releasing stray dogs. As a result, fewer stray dogs repopulate and spread diseases over time. Dog vaccinations can also improve public health by preventing the spread of canine diseases to humans. Moreover, rescuing dogs can reduce poverty by improving canine health, which often improves human health as well.
Safety Benefits of Lowering the Stray Dog Population
Large stray dog populations put humans at risk of dog bites and attacks, and children tend to be affected by these attacks the most. Dog bites can transmit diseases to humans like rabies, but they can also cause serious physical damage and pain, especially to small children. In impoverished communities where many people lack access to healthcare, animal rescue organizations and shelters can reduce people’s need for medical assistance by reducing the prevalence of dog-related injuries.
With fewer stray dogs on the street, people in developing countries are less likely to experience physical harm from stray dogs. As a result, they are less likely to need expensive medical assistance. Animal shelters help impoverished communities by removing dangerous animals from the street and consequently improving public health.
An Ethical Solution
Some countries have attempted to reduce stray dog populations with euthanasia programs, but ethical dog rescue programs have shown to be equally, if not more effective. Organizations that spay, neuter and vaccinate dogs for free tend to be particularly valuable for shrinking the size of stray dog populations. According to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, one female dog who has not been spayed can produce up to 67,000 offspring in just six years. Spay and neuter programs, often called “catch-neuter-return” programs, can drastically reduce stray dog populations without resorting to euthanization.
Dog vaccinations and sterilizations are potentially the most sustainable and ethical solutions to the stray dog crisis. People and dogs alike benefit from animal rescue, sterilization and vaccination efforts. Rescuing stray dogs can reduce poverty by saving human lives, especially in impoverished communities with high stray dog populations and limited access to healthcare.
– Cleo Hudson