Russian veterinarians preparing to start their work for the day (Seychelles News Agency)
(Seychelles News Agency) – Seychelles launched a free sterilisation campaign on January 11 to address the issue of stray dogs and cats in the country.
Work started at the Grand Anse Mahe Community Centre, and vets were present on Praslin Island during the weekend, as well at Roche Caiman, Victoria and Beau Vallon Centres in the coming days.
The initiative, organised through a collaboration between the NGO Be Kind and the Ministry of Agriculture, Climate Change, and Environment, encourages pet owners to bring their animals for sterilisation following the establishment of Be Kind, in response to a widely publicised mass killing of stray dogs in 2023. The NGO now works to advocate for animal rights in Seychelles.
A group of eight Russian veterinarians has come to Seychelles to help with this programme, completing up to four sterilisations at any one time. Their participation has been facilitated by Be Kind, as the campaign aims to address the overpopulation of strays resulting from unsterilised pets.
“We believe that the overpopulation of strays comes from people who have not sterilised their pets. If you have three dogs that are not sterilised, they can go around and mate, and that is where the strays come from,” explained Be Kind chairperson Nicole Ste Ange.
Pet owners participating in the programme are required to book appointments, providing necessary details to ensure their animals are fit for the procedure. The campaign, which targets reducing the population of stray animals, complements other methods such as registration and promoting responsible pet ownership.
|A dog owner waiting for her pet to be sterilised at a community centre (Seychelles News Agency_ Photo License: CC-BY
The programme has already attracted a good number of people who have been bringing cats and dogs for sterilisation, and the senior vet technician from the Department of Agriculture, Erena Dugasse, said that things have been going well so far.
“So far, we can do approximately about 40 animals today, which is a half day, and hopefully on Praslin, we will be able to do much more,” added Dugasse.
Meanwhile, an animal welfare technician, Shannon Chetty, explained that this programme is very important to have control over the dog and cat population in the country. This is just one of the methods used, which also includes registration and pet owners being more responsible.
“We put the announcements out almost two weeks ago, and we are actually almost fully booked for most days, but we are doing our best to slot in walk-in clients as well,” said Chetty.
While the programme is aimed at reducing strays, it only involves the sterilisation of pets. For stray dogs and cats, Chetty explained that there need to be plans in place where the department can have more control over the stray dogs they sterilise, as at the moment, it is very difficult to sterilise strays.
“Such a programme for strays could cause some discontent among the public, who would not like it if we just picked up the strays, sterilise them, and put them back on the road, so we would need to be in control of the stray and know where they are at all times,” explained Chetty.
While this programme is being done for free, the public is still being encouraged to sterilise their pets at any time at the various vet clinics in the country, which are open year-round.