Animal menace needs solution
By CAPTAIN MAHMOOD AL MAHMOOD
Pets are equal parts delightful and problematic – and it all depends on which side of the leash you are on. If you are an owner, you probably chose to have a pet and care for it, so you enjoy the companionship of a furry family member.
And believe me, most pet-owners treat their pets as family, referring to them not just by a “petname” but adding the family surname to it. If you are not a pet-owner, on the other hand, you are wary of pets – of all animals – and they either have no part in your life schedule or you are frightened of them.
Now there is a third kind of pet interaction that I see all around me in Bahrain – the Good Samaritan Pet Supporter. These are people who have their own pets at home and also feed strays, sometimes travelling to other parts far from their neighbourhood to leave bowls of food for dogs and cats there.
And this is a problem for the rest of us. It leads to dogs moving about in packs because of the availability of free food and cats prowling the street in large numbers and often falling victim to the traffic and meeting with a painful crippling or untimely death.
Worse, the food left for strays attracts vermin – rodents and, now that summer is here, flies too. Time and again, municipal authorities make noises about a neutering programme to check the growing population of strays but frankly, I see no evidence of the success of such moves.
In fact, quite the contrary, we hear of more feral dog packs making a simple walk in the area dangerous or threatening. The other proposed solution to catch and release dogs in an area far from residences is also uneconomic and cruel to the canines who cannot survive without human intervention for food and health checks.
It is time we had a think tank to come up with a humane solution for animal-proofing our streets. The other proposed solution to catch and release dogs in an area far from residences is also uneconomic and cruel to the canines who cannot survive without human intervention for food and health checks.
It is time we had a think tank to come up with a humane solution for animal-proofing our streets.
(Captain Mahmood Al Mahmood is the Editor-in-Chief of The Daily Tribune and the President of the Arab-African Unity Organisation for Relief, Human Rights and Counterterrorism)