So many of you, like so many of us within the HSUS family, care about dogs and their well-being. I’m proud of the work we’re doing to help dogs here and abroad, and wanted to share some news of our activities in this arena.
The HSUS and Humane Society International work hands-on each day to care for animals in underserved communities in the United States, and for street dogs around the world. From Native American reservations stateside to the streets of India, Bolivia, Guyana, and the Philippines, we are spaying and neutering animals, vaccinating them, and providing veterinary care, even as we work to build out humane infrastructure in those communities.
Most street dogs worldwide live in deplorable conditions. They are unsterilized, competing for food, at risk of starvation and dehydration, and suffering from diseases and injuries. On average, they die before they’re four years old. All too often, street dogs are beaten to death, poisoned, or euthanized using unacceptable methods of population control.
HSI has more on-the-ground dog population management projects in motion than any other animal protection or non-governmental organization. In addition to our direct care work, we are supporting the expansion of local, state, and national capacity in other nations to enable them to better respond to animal welfare problems. We’re also training veterinarians and veterinary technicians in high-volume and high-quality spay/neuter surgery, so the good work we have started can continue in the future.
I was in India last month to take a first-hand look at the great work our team is doing there. India has 35 million streets dogs and accounts for 36 percent of all human rabies deaths in the world. It was inspiring to watch the work done by our team in providing spay/neuter surgeries to the animals, and working with local communities to educate them about the dogs who live in their neighborhoods. It was also immensely moving to watch the communities welcome the dogs back into their neighborhoods after the surgeries.
I am especially pleased about the work done in the northern state of Uttarakhand, where we have sterilized more than 10,000 dogs in just over a year, working with community volunteers. In the south Indian state of Kerala, where dogs are culled mercilessly, we have been educating locals about street dogs so that any fears and misconceptions about the animals are allayed, even as we sterilize the dogs to control their numbers.
We are also working in Bangladesh, Bhutan, the Philippines, and Nepal to help street dogs. HSI just today signed an agreement with Mauritius to begin a pilot project to sterilize 10,000 street dogs there. The Mauritius government estimates there are 57,000 roaming dogs in the country, and is open to approaches to humanely and sustainably reduce this population.
In Latin America, where we sterilized and vaccinated more than 12,000 dogs in 2017 alone, we are working in Bolivia, Chile, Puerto Rico, and Guyana. In La Paz, Bolivia, the third most populous city in the country, nearly 60 percent of the pet owners who visit our spay/neuter clinics had never taken their pet to a veterinarian before. In the outskirts of Georgetown, Guyana, 73 percent of pet owners had never visited a veterinarian with their companion animal before.
Here in the United States, The HSUS’s Rural Area Veterinary Services program (RAVS) has been providing free veterinary services in underserved rural communities, including several Native American reservations.
This month, we have been working on the San Carlos Apache reservation in Arizona, doing door-to-door outreach to help the neediest animals and by working side-by-side with tribal partners in the community to address large-scale animal and community health and welfare challenges.
In 2017 alone, RAVS staff and more than 350 volunteers provided life-saving veterinary care to 9,000 animals through 28 clinics spread out over 136 days. This included spay/neuter and wellness clinics for dogs and cats, and equine clinics.
In addition, our Pets for Life program brings services to people and pets in underserved communities. Through direct care in two cities — Philadelphia and Los Angeles – and mentorship, training, and support to local shelters, animal services agencies, rescue groups and spay/neuter clinics in 35 markets to date, PFL has provided pet wellness resources to more than 151,000 animals nationwide. PFL is creating a paradigm shift in companion animal welfare – by honoring the love people have for their pets, and by working with Americans to make the point that a lack of financial means does not equate to lack of love for a pet.
Our companion animal programs at home, and our global street dog management initiatives worldwide, stand at the core of what your HSUS does. We’ll do even more to help dogs in the United States and elsewhere, with your continued support. Please learn more about these programs, and help us grow them in the future.