If you look around your neighborhood or community, you’ll probably notice stray dogs roaming around. Unfortunately, there are about 70 million strays in the U.S. Of these, only about six to eight million cats and dogs get put in shelters each year. In other words, there’s a massive stray dog problem in not only the U.S. but also in the world overall. In Holland, they’re taking this problem seriously and making sure that all stray dogs stay off the streets.
How did Holland accomplish this? The government started implementing the PSVIR method (pick, sterilize, vaccinate, identify, and return). Because of this, it became the first country to have no stray dogs in 2016. Think of how wonderful it would be if every country could implement this strategy and save all of the beautiful animals from a life on the streets!
Here’s How Holland Became the First Country with No Stray Dogs
How the stray dog problem began
Since the 19th century, Holland’s dog population has grown tremendously. Virtually every family in Holland had a dog as a pet because they viewed it as a status symbol. However, rabies soon spread among the dogs since the population was so high, and it became one of the leading causes of death. This outbreak caused many pet owners to abandon their pets, which led to the stray dog problem.
Mandatory medical examinations
Holland wanted to reverse this problem somehow. They started setting days of compulsory sterilization and castration to take place. The government paid all expenses, so there was no excuse to avoid the responsibility. Because of this, they were able to sterilize 70% of female dogs. The services included medical examinations to see if the dogs needed any vaccines or other medical attention.
Making abandonment illegal
To make sure that the stray dog problem wouldn’t continue, the government made it illegal to abandon pets. The new laws protected pets from abuse and inadequate treatment from their owners. If owners broke the laws, they could be punished with up to 3 years in prison and a fine of $16,000 or more.
Increasing taxes on purebred dogs
Many people who want a dog choose to get one from a breeder because they’re considered to be better looking and healthier. Because of this, the Dutch government raised taxes on bred dogs in hopes that fewer people would buy them. It worked because people started going to shelters more often, which helped decrease the stray dog population.
They also decided to raise awareness through campaigns to educate people about stray dogs. During the campaigns, people had the opportunity to give stray dogs a forever home. We’re happy to say that over a million stray dogs found homes during these campaigns, which proves the beautiful things that can happen when people are simply made aware of a problem. 90% of the population ended up adopting a pet.
The end of stray dogs in Holland
The government decided to hand the job over to “Animal Cops” in 2011, a group of policemen who ensured that all dogs in Holland were safe and protected. Now, all dogs in the Netherlands have a safe home and are even allowed in most establishments as well.
How do you help stray dogs in your community? Would you like to see your country implement these initiatives? Let us know in the comments!