Summary dogs Big Helatis

Taking the time to investigate the dog population and how local people feel and behave towards the dogs will lead to greater understanding of dog population dynamics, the problems created by the dog population and experienced by the dogs themselves and also perhaps most importantly why these problems may exist. From this position of greater understanding, the design of the population management programme will be significantly improved and hence successful and sustainable management of the population will be more likely. Development of a multi-stakeholder group to complete this stage of investigation and interpretation is likely to be very beneficial and this same group should be prepared and motivated to move to the next stage of programme design and implementation. Components of a Comprehensive Humane Dog Population Management Programme A dog population management programme can be designed to suit the location, based on an understanding of the dog population and the attitudes and behaviour of the local human community towards dogs, as discussed above. A number of components or activities that complement each other are likely to be required to form a comprehensive programme. The sustainability of each component will be a relevant consideration even at the outset, as it must be realized that dog population management is not a short-term challenge but a permanent requirement for society. However, these components will need to evolve over time, in step with changes in dog population dynamics, ownership, and attitudes towards dogs. In this section a range of common components is described, with the likely aim in using each, and some examples from different countries. Education Human behaviour towards dogs is such an influential factor with regard to dog welfare, survival, breeding, and where and how they live that education of people is similarly an influential component of dog population management. Education messages and delivery need to be targeted towards specific audiences and developed and delivered with support from education specialists. Target audiences and the aim of education efforts will probably include the following: • Dog owners. The aim of educating dog owners is primarily to increase responsible dog ownership to improve dog welfare, to reduce potential disease risks through owners investing in preventative measures such as vaccination and parasite control, and to improve approaches to dog acquisition and retention, reproduction, and rehoming. • Children. Children are commonly closely involved in dog care, and hence one aim will be to improve their responsible ownership behaviour as described in the previous point. However, children are also commonly over-represented in the dog-bite data, so an additional aim is to improve their behaviour in interactions with dogs and reduce bite incidence. • Veterinarians. Veterinarians are key professionals who should be engaged and involved in dog population management. They are often considered the primary source for information about dog care by owners, and have a clear role in providing disease prevention measures, dog health care, and dog reproduction control. The aim in educating this audience is to build its knowledge and engagement in dog population management by supporting the development of key skills such as surgical sterilization, humane methods of euthanasia, and knowledge of the impact of dogs in public health. • Animal Control Officers (ACOs). ACOs may have different titles according to their country and their responsibilities. This profession is at the ‘front line’ of dog population management and usually responsible for responding to complaints about dogs, enforcing dog-related regulations, and talking to the public about

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