Mauritius has been dealing with the problem of stray animals since 1972. Although the government and authorities have carried out numerous campaigns to tackle this issue over the years, a high number of stray animals, mostly cats and dogs, is still visible in current times. The statistics on stray dogs in Mauritius for mid 2012 is more than 200,000 and this number is growing exponentially day-by-day.
Mauritius’ reputation about the treatment of its animals has also suffered a serious blow in recent years and articles published in international newspapers showing the various ill-treatments animals are subjected to pay testimony to this fact. On May 2, 2014 the Guardian newspaper reported,“In Mauritius dogs were killed using “extremely painful” non-approved chemicals”.
Rescue and rehoming of stray dogs
We rescue and take care of needy animals (mainly dogs) at our shelter located at Meldrum Street in Curepipe. Our dedicated volunteers take care of the animals on a daily basis; feeding them, cleaning the kennels and playing with them. We also have volunteers who foster the animals in special situations.
Later on, we plan to bring in the concept of training and therapy dogs. A therapy dog is a dog trained to provide affection and comfort to people in hospitals, retirement homes, nursing homes, schools and to children with learning difficulties. The Therapy Dog program will be introduced in the ELI Corps program of ELI Africa to help students from poor socio-economic background with learning difficulties as well as helping them emotionally before exams.
Educating the population on animal issues and pet ownership
Rescuing and rehoming will help alleviate the problem of stray dogs and cats but unsterilized strays will continue to reproduce. This problem should be tackled at its root level; the population. Educating people will ensure the sustainability of the program.
A large portion of the Mauritian population is still unaware of many issues concerning animals or pet ownership. We make use of social networks and organize sensitization campaigns to educate people on the importance of spaying and neutering of their pet, on the basic needs and how to handle their pets in society so as to prevent incidents, inform them about many veterinary malpractices and animal ill-treatment prevailing in the country.
We will seek to make recommendations for the Animal Welfare Bill 2013. We believe there are countless cruelty-free, more reliable and efficient non-animal methods which can be used. Animals in laboratories suffer enormously, both physically and mentally. The ability of animals to suffer and to experience all kinds of emotions must be recognized. We recommend international standards of protections such as not being heartlessly subjected to cruelties in laboratories and the right to humane treatment.