Dog lovers protest mass relocation of strays in Bangladesh
Image shows stray dogs.
Image by Igor Ovsyannykov from Pixabay
Dog lovers protest mass relocation of strays in Bangladesh
(Agence France-Presse) - September 3, 2020 - 1:19pm

DHAKA, Bangladesh — Bangladeshi dog lovers took to the streets of the capital Dhaka on Wednesday to protest the relocation of up to 30,000 strays, saying the move violates the country's animal welfare laws.

Chanting "relocation is illegal" and holding placards with the words "dogs lives matter", more than 100 animal rights campaigners gathered outside the office of Dhaka's mayor to call for the policy to be reversed.

"Relocation will lead to their mass starvation and the deaths of thousands of dogs," Rakibul Haq Emil, the head of the PAWS animal welfare group, told AFP.

"It won't solve anything, as new dogs will come and fill up the vacuum created by the relocation of sterilised dogs. Rabies will spread."

Rubaiya Ahmad of leading Bangladesh animal welfare group Obhoyaronno added that moving the dogs was illegal under the country's animal welfare act.

Officials have said the stray dog population exploded since a sterilisation programme faltered and that residents had complained they could not move around freely in south Dhaka.

Street dogs are a common sight in the capital, with packs of canines roaming freely and sleeping on pavements.

Many are fed scraps by dog lovers in restaurants and markets, while they also scavenge from waste dumps and bins.

They also play a vital role in keeping the streets clean by driving away rats and other vermin, say animal rights campaigners.

One local newspaper said authorities had already started moving the animals to a waste landfill on the outskirts of Dhaka.

But a spokesman for south Dhaka's municipal administration, Mohammad Abu Naser, rejected claims that the relocation had started.

"The relocation is still in the planning stage. The mayor is now outside the country. A final decision will be made once he returns," he said.

City authorities used to kill up to 20,000 strays a year to control the dog population, but a 2015 court order banned the culling and animal rights groups introduced the sterilisation programme.

DOGS STRAY DOGS
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