Man’s best friend is facing trying times indeed. Neglected by its owners, dogs in urban areas are at risk of being shot on sight should they stray as they attempt to fend for themselves, since their loitering contravenes local authority regulations.
While the passion to have the company of the canines remains deep in most homes, the means to do so could be slipping away from many hence the increase in the number of stray dogs.
The stray dog menace is so bad that some of these have been spotted around the city of Bulawayo, around Parirenyatwa Street and First and Second Avenue. Clearly, this is untenable.
Almost daily a considerable number of dogs feed crows as they are turned into mince meat after being crushed by vehicles on our city roads since their owners allow them to stray. This is serious cruelty as it exposes those that keep dogs without the means or the passion for such.
How can they remain our best friend when dogs are left to roam free, risking people’s lives and their own, in the process?
Elsewhere in this edition we carry a story with worrying statistics on dog bites, that are now around 11 000 halfway into the year. What makes the problem of dog bites even more serious is that many of the dogs, both stray and secured ones, have not been vaccinated against rabies.
We believe it is quite irresponsible for dog owners to keep unvaccinated dogs on their properties, since they could easily bite children especially and transmit the disease to them.
Often times, the vaccination status of the dogs is discovered after they bite someone. While we commend councils for enforcing regulations and resorting to the tie-up orders, we would also want to challenge dog owners to secure their dogs so that they do not become a nuisance.
The disposal of domestic waste at illegal dumping points has also attracted stray dogs from far and wide since they feed on leftovers, dead fowl and all sorts of domestic refuse. We are then left to deal with the twin evils of stray dogs and their chief attraction, indiscriminately disposed garbage.
Let us do the right thing by taking care of our pets so that they provide us with the companionship and security. There is no point in keeping a dog that is rarely home since it becomes a persistent nuisance to neighbours instead of being the owner’s best friend.