While there are many countries around the world in which stray dogs are still an ever-increasing issue, in the country of the Netherlands they’ve all been saved and rehomed. The way this was achieved was through the government’s push for the PSVIR method – meaning pick, sterilize, vaccinate, identify, and return. As of 2016, the streets of the Netherlands are now stray dog-free, and the rest of the world would be wise to follow suit.
The Netherlands is a country with a rich history of dogs. Almost every family in the 19th century had a dog as they were seen as a social symbol. However, as the number of dogs increased, so did the outbreak of rabies amongst other problems. Soon, many owners started to become afraid of their pets and began to abandon their dogs. Therefore it didn’t take long at all for the streets to become overrun with strays.
In order to facilitate change, the Netherlands decided to organize certain sterilization days in order to spay/neuter pets. It was free as the government assumed the costs. 70% of the female dogs were sterilized and further medical examinations were given in order to verify if any additional services were needed, or if they had already received their vaccines.
Additionally, more control was implemented after a law was passed in order to protected animals, and an additional law associated with their health and welfare was also enforced. Those new laws encouraged owners to provide their dogs with proper treatment as a means of eliminating abuse. If owners did not follow the law, they could end up with a fine greater than $16,000, as well as face up to 3 years in prison.
While most people tend to choose dogs based on their breeds, the Dutch government actually started to slow down this practice by increasing taxes on dogs bought from stores. This helped to facilitate the adoption of strays.
Besides these changes in the law, overall awareness was also something that was pushed by a state-run campaign. It wasn’t long before people’s views began to change, and 1 million stray dogs were given a place to live. Thanks to all that hard work, 90% of the population adopted a dog and kept them as pets.
One other factor that helped to reduce the stray dog levels was the 2011 incorporation of “Animal Cops”. Those are policemen who are specifically charged with protecting dogs throughout the country. That is why, in the Netherlands, dogs are seen as more than just a pet. Owners can often take them to restaurants, stores, and other establishments.
We need something like this worldwide, don’t you think?