"Cruelty to animals in our blessed land is Monumental"

(The Island Newspaper - Sri Lanka, 13th March 2007).

Sri Lanka has a poor record in animal welfare. Slaughter methods used for farm animals are mainly unregulated and brutal in the extreme. Sri Lanka’s wildlife, particularly the elephants are struggling to survive in their conflict with man and loss of habitat. Many are shot and others are starving to death after being re-located in national parks. In January 2007 Sri Lanka’s most majestic Dalaputtuwa-a 45 year old elephant with unusually large crossed tusks, was shot whilst wandering on a beach. He managed to limp several kilometres inside the jungle using his tusk to support his wounded leg before falling and dying 5 days later. Existing laws and regulations to protect Sri Lanka’s wildlife are ineffective and difficult to implement.

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Of all the animals that suffer inhumane treatment at our human hands, the canines undergo the worst plight’

(The Island Newspaper, Sri Lanka, 13th March 2007) 

There are thousands of stray cats and dogs in Sri Lanka facing a multitude of horrors in their daily struggle for life-starvation, dehydration, disease, cruelty and injuries on the roads.

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History of stray dog population control

Outdated legislation (the Rabies Ordinance bill) introduced by the British colonial rulers over 100 years ago has allowed the authorities to indiscriminately seize and slaughter dogs in their thousands in the name of rabies control. Pets have also been seized, some whilst innocently sitting outside their owner’s homes.

Like in many countries around the world, culling methods of stray animals are extremely brutal and inhumane.  Strays in Sri Lanka have been rounded up and gassed or stabbed with pole syringes carrying the poison strychnine.

This is Sooby-survivor of the gas vans

Starvation & Thurst

It is heartbreaking to see destitute and starving cats and dogs searching desperately for food and water. Many gaze pitifully at locals passing by in the hope that someone will offer them the hand of kindness and a morsel of food. Strays often resort to searching for food on the festering rubbish tips. Disabled strays and pups are particularly vulnerable to starvation and dehydration.
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Male pups tend to be favoured by locals as ‘pets’ or guard dogs - especially those that look aesthetically pleasing (like pedigrees). 

Many female pups are dumped on rubbish tips and are at risk of attacks by crows who peck at their eyes

It is a common sight to see tiny puppies staggering along busy roads, whilst large trucks thunder by-alone and frightened. Many others lie helplessly by the roadside in an emaciated and dehydrated state, or dying of tick fever or another disease.

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Pregnant Strays

Stray cats produce many litters of kittens and have to compete for scraps on the rubbish heaps, along with the stray dogs.  Everyday is a struggle for survival. It is a lonely life and lonely death.

In optimum breeding conditions, one female dog and her offspring can produce up to 67,000 puppies in 6 years.

Humanely reducing the numbers of stray animals through a major sterilisation programme would spare unwanted puppies and kittens a miserable existence on the streets, reduce the threat of rabies in humans and animals, and create a happier and healthier environment for all to enjoy. 

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Neglected Pets

Pedigree breeds are the preferred choice of pets in Sri Lanka. Many are kept as guard dogs or ‘status symbols’ and are commonly tethered outside with ropes and chains or kept in small cages or wooden kennels.

For sociable pack animals that share the closest bond with man, caging or chaining a dog for long periods, sometimes for years, is cruelty in the extreme.

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Prunella the Porcupine

One of our new arrivals this week- a huge female porcupine was cruelly stoned-someone wanted her for lunch (they are tasty to locals apparently) but Pru had other ideas and legged it despite her injuries. She was rescued by a lady who brought her to our clinic and is being treated for maggot wounds/infections. 

Let's hope she survives. We treated a monitor lizard last week. We never refuse an animal in need whatever the species

 

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We’ve failed the test of ‘a nation’s greatness and moral progress’

 (The Island Newspaper-Sri Lanka 13th March 2007)
      

Strays are often perceived as being a nuisance, particularly when communities are affected by large packs of hungry and often diseased animals.

The threat of rabies in Sri Lanka also compounds local fear and hostility.

Sadly some strays are kicked, stoned, beaten, mutilated, and doused with boiling water or fuel.

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In May 2006, to mark the 2550th Buddha Jayanthi celebrations,President Mahinda Rajapaksa gave a directive to stop killing strays and pledged to support more humane and effective methods to stabilise the stray dog population. This initiative is a major milestone for animal welfare in Sri Lanka and brings hope to many otherwise doomed animals.

Sadly, despite the Presidential Order, there are still isolated reports of poisoning of the strays especially in tourist and beach areas.

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Neck Wounds

Wounds to the neck are common as the rope/chain/collars are often too tight or are not adjusted as the animal grows. They can become embedded in the neck leaving infected and painful wounds that often require surgery.

Neck wounds of this kind are common in Sri Lanka and cause great misery and suffering to pets

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prunella when we found her
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