Dog-shooting passé in S.A.

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November 2000:

CAPE TOWN––Word that immunocontraception
seems to work with
female elephants at Kruger National
Park, South Africa, appeared to touch
off a furor over dog exterminations
which continue in lieu of effective animal
birth control in the Cape Town
region, at the far end of the nation.
Perhaps it was only coincidence,
but the engineer of the Kruger
project, South African-born University
of Georgia researcher Richard FayrerHosken,
is also working on immunocontraceptive
methods for use with dogs
and cats, as he explained at the June
2000 Spay/USA conference in
Waltham, Massachusetts.

Fayrer-Hosken and associates
reported in the September 14 edition of
the British journal Nature that of the 31
female elephants whom they darted
with immunocontraceptives in the first
year of the project, just 11 became
pregnant. Among a control group who
got a placebo, 89% became pregnant.
An attempt to use estrogenbased
contraceptives instead of lethal
culling to control the numbers of Kruger
elephants failed several years ago,
when the elephants receving the estrogen
became more fertile instead of less.
Five days after the N a t u r e
report was amplified by major South
African media, Ugandan chief veterinary
officer Chris Retebarika received
widespread media notice for telling a
workshop on rabies control that,
“Depo-Provera used by humans in family
planning is very effective in the control
of births in dogs,” and that canine
birth control is cheaper, more effective,
and safer than killing dogs.
One day after that, former
Randburg SPCA cruelty investigator
John Munn described to the Cape Town
S t a r how he and ex-Randburg SPCA
shelter manager Hannelie de Lange
cried at night after killing dogs and cats
with a captive bolt pistol because the
financially stressed organization could
afford neither injection euthanasia drugs
nor a veterinarian. Munn and de Lange
reportedly shot 266 dogs and cats during
the first six months of 2000.
“I can’t believe anyone in
their right mind would consider it,”
said Christine Kuch of the South
African National Council of SPCAs.
“There is a world of difference between
euthanasia and slaughter.”
The Cape Town Star reported
that Munn and de Lange could face
criminal charges.
But whatever they did, they
were not alone. The same edition of the
Cape Town Star described the outrage
of residents of Sutherland, Northern
Cape, at discovering more than 100
dead unlicensed stray dogs in a pit at the
municipal dump. The dogs were apparently
shot with captive bolt guns by
staff of the Worcester SPCA, upon
request of Sutherland municipality.
A week later, the KwaKuluNatal
Directorate of Public Prosecutions
authorized the prosecution of three
police officers who shot a German shepherd,
a Staffordshire bull terrier, and a
Doberman through the window of an
outhouse, at request of the dogs’ female
owner. Her motive was unclear.
Unwanted dogs used to be
shot with little evident public conce

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