A lot people contact me about the suffering of street dogs but owned animals in Sri Lanka can suffer just as much if not more as their roaming counterparts,

common welfare issues for owned dogs include tethering and excessive kenneling, poor diet, lack of water, pups removed from their mum before they are weaned, failure to get treatment for illness or injury, to poor and dangerous handling.

A supporter recently asked me

With regards to the – what we would consider – neglect of these dogs even when in homes, is it a case of ignorance about how to care for them or is it based on lack of finances? Is it lack of respect for the species (and possibly creatures in general) or is it just the accepted way of treating them?

The board answer is yes its often ignorance, as in a general lack of knowledge about what a condition is, how it can be prevented and even that it can be treated. We tackle this by educating everyone we encounter, running children’s education sessions, talks to owners, rehoming agreements, handouts / leaflets and posters

When we first started working with dogs here people were amazed when we started curing dogs with mange, they really thought it was incurable and just something that happen to some dogs. Equally most people were unaware than male animals could be sterilized

Finances, again yes that’s a big factor for a lot of people. Many local households live on incomes as low as £2.50 a day

Less so a lack of respect although some people have no idea about animals needs especially regards emotional needs, equally we have encountered households where this lack of awareness also covers human members needs

If I was to generalise then yes in many areas its is the acceptable norm (due to the reasons above), however in the Dogstar managed areas due to our adult and children’s education programs there is a subtle but noticeable shift in attitudes

Everyone we meet, from families wanting to adopt, owners bringing animals in to be sterilized or people approaching us for treatments is a potential new animal advocate, every person we educate regards animal welfare not only makes a change to their own animal lives but supporting us by reinforcing messages about welfare and acceptable standards to the wider community

Its the only way we can make a lasting impact on the lives of the animals

What’s the single most important animal welfare message you think your community needs to hear and why ?

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