Objectives that, if achieved, will contribute to the desired impacts. These will be the effects of the programme that in combination will help achieve the desired impacts, and may include an increase in sterilization of the dog population (in particular those dogs with low-income owners living in a specified location), increase in rabies vaccination coverage, and improved knowledge, attitudes, and practices relating to dog care and dogbite prevention. • Activities that will achieve each stated objective. These will be the efforts that the programme makes; what the programme actually does daily to achieve the objectives. These may include: º a training programme for local vets in low-cost but high-asepsis surgical sterilization; º provision of a mobile clinic for areas where there is no accessible veterinary service; º an annual rabies vaccination campaign with a particular focus on low-income areas; º a school education programme in bite prevention and responsible dog ownership; º development of improved legislation and enforcement, including regulation of breeding and sale of dogs. For each level of the hierarchy, indicators are selected that can directly measure any change in the stated objective, and a method of measuring the indicator is similarly stated. For example: • At the impact level. If the desired impact is a reduction in the roaming dog population, an indicator could be the number of roaming dogs visible on public property between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. in a selected sample of wards of a municipality. The method of measurement is therefore the direct observation survey, conducted every 6 months. • At the activity level. If dog reproduction control was selected as an important component of the programme, the number of dogs sterilized through a low-cost sterilization project subsidized by the programme in collaboration with a local veterinary association would be the indicator. The method of measurement could be the monthly reports submitted by participating veterinary clinics. From these examples it becomes clear that the indicators to be used for monitoring and evaluation will depend on the objectives selected for the programme, which will reflect the initially identified problems and their causes. However, there are some indicators that are likely to be common to most dog population management programmes, including: • Indicators of the size of the roaming dog population measured through direct observation surveys of dogs on public property, or the number of dogs collected from public property by authorities. If roaming dog populations are common in the location in question, an additional indicator of the percentage of lactating females measured through direct observation surveys of dogs on public property would reflect the reproductive activity of the roaming dog population. • Indicators for the size of the unwanted dog population measured through abandonment of dogs at shelters or requested euthanasia at veterinary clinics. • Indicators for the size of the owned dog population and its overlap with the roaming dog population, measured by asking dog owners about roaming behaviour. • Combining indicators about the size of the roaming dog population, owned dog population, and where they overlap will lead to indicators for the total dog population size. This can be reported as a total number of dogs for a specifically defined location, a density per unit area, or as a ratio of dogs to humans. • Indicators of dog welfare measured through direct animal-based measures including body condition score, skin conditions, and incidence of injuries such as those caused by road traffic accidents. • Indicators of dog care measured through vaccination coverage and percentage of the population receiving regular internal and external parasite control. • Indicators for animal cruelty including number of complaints and prosecutions under relevant legislation. • Indicators for relevant zoonotic diseases such as rabies, measured as the incidence rate per month and per year in both dogs and in humans. This should also include measures of surveillance efforts to ensure changes in incidence reflect actual changes in disease, and not only efforts to record disease incidence. • Indicators for dog-related injuries to humans measured by monthly or annual rate of dog bites of humans treated by health clinics/hospitals (often reflected by uptake of post-exposure prophylaxis for suspected rabies exposure). Example: Colombo monitoring and evaluation efforts Monitoring and evaluation in Colombo is achieved using a range of methods of measurement, including: • Direct observation and counts of roaming dogs in the early morning (peak time for roaming dogs) including scoring individual dogs for body condition, skin condition, and lactation in the case of females. • Questionnaire survey of both dog owners and people who do not own dogs. • Evaluation immediately following education programmes to assess comprehension and follow-up 6 months later in a sample of classrooms, to assess knowledge retention. • Official data sources, including dog and human rabies cases, and reported dog bites from local and central government. • Qualitative measures such as collating testimonials from expert witnesses, and ‘most significant change’ stories (a method of collecting qualitative information in the form of stories of change experienced by beneficiaries; see Davies and Dart (2005) for more information). Summary Although time consuming and not without financial costs, monitoring and evaluation of dog population-management programmes should quickly provide benefits that outweigh these costs in terms of learning to improve programme performance. They should also provide a level of accountability that is demanded of both public funds and private donations to NGOs. The indicators selected for each programme should reflect the objectives selected by that programme to match the problems and causes initially identified, although some common indicators are suggested in this section to inspire programme managers to start monitoring and evaluating interesting indicators of success. Final example: Colombo achievements Throughout this chapter a particular programme was used to provide a working example as an illustration. To complete this, the achievements of this programme from mid2007 through to mid-2010 are summarized: • The project has set out to provide an effective and humane alternative to the previous approach of regular dog impounding and elimination using inhumane methods, including gassing with exhaust fumes. This alternative project including vaccination, sterilization, and education has been well received and accepted by the municipality and the local communities, and is set to be maintained by local government from 2012 onwards. The impacts on human health and animal welfare have been positive, most notably with a decline in dog rabies cases from 2008 onwards to well below previous annual fluctuations (Fig. 11.2). • The percentage of lactating female dogs seen on the streets during direct observation surveys has fallen from a mean of 8% (maximum observed 21%) in June 2007 to 1.1% in June 2010 (maximum observed 5%). This reduction suggests that reproduction in the roaming dog population has diminished. The percentage of lactating roaming female dogs is significantly and negatively correlated to the percentage of sterilized females seen on the streets (R2 = 0.33, df = 59, p<0.001), suggesting every 1% increase in the population sterilized leads to a decrease of 0.1% in the percentage of lactating females. • At the same time the body condition and skin condition of the roaming dog population have improved; not only in sterilized dogs (as expected due to eliminating the energetic demands of breeding), but also in unsterilized dogs, suggesting there has been some improvement in the care provided by the community to both sterilized and unsterilized dogs. • The roaming dog population size has shown a slight increase over time, but there is some evidence that the rate of increase has slowed and then started to decrease in recent months. Whether this decrease continues will be closely monitored in coming months and years. The initial increase in population size may be due to the project starting 1 year after elimination of dogs had been stopped, when the dog population was presumably recovering, having been kept below the carrying capacity of the environment through consistent removal by elimination. • The education programme on bite prevention and rabies awareness has shown both an increase in knowledge immediately following lessons and also an impressive level of retention over time. Using a standard set of questions, it was found that 86% of primary school children and 90% of secondary school children had gained the required knowledge immediately after the education session and that retention was good, with 85% of primary and 78% of secondary school children having maintained this same level of knowledge after 6 months. This will need to be further evaluated with data on dog bites for children in the CMC as compared to dog bites in the rest of the country. The main challenges remaining will be to ensure a suitable national and local legislative foundation for this project and others like it, and to establish the source of future sustainability once WSPA funding comes to an end. However this is already a project for Colombo to be proud of, and in response WSPA is beginning to invest in helping the replication of the approach used to develop this programme in other locations, in particular in South and SouthEast Asia. However, this programme also has relevance in other locations within Sri Lanka and the project partners hope to support shared learning wherever individuals, organizations and authorities with similar aims are found.
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