Sri Lankan district court ruling puts Kandy Animal Birth Control program in jeopardy

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, July/August 2007:


KANDY, Sri Lanka–A District Court ruling that there are too
many dogs at large in Kandy may permit the Kandy Municipal
Corporation to resume killing street dogs on October 5, 2007, 60
days after the ruling was issued.
The killing would contravene a national no-kill policy
proclaimed in June 2006 by Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa,
who reaffirmed it in July 2007–but Kandy has defied official policy
to kill dogs before.
“The Kandy Animal Birth Control program started in 2002,
with municipal cooperation,” summarized Eva Ruppel (“Padma”) of the
Save Our Friends Association. When KMC cooperation was discontinued,
we went to the courts to prevent the killing of dogs. Despite a
court-order in our favor, the KMC killed 360 dogs in August 2005.”
ABC supporters stopped the killing by charging Kandy
officials with contempt of court. The August 5 ruling dismissed the
contempt charges, and gave the ABC program 60 days to reduce the dog

“Of course we appealed,” Ruppel posted to the Asia Animal
Protection Network. “We have to safeguard the 10,000 dogs who have
been already sterilized and vaccinated. We have no intention of
giving up the only sensible way to stabilize the population and to
prevent rabies. Kandy had no human rabies cases since 2002,” Ruppel
added, “and dog bite cases have drastically decreased. We have no
reason to return the dog pound to the KMC and let them start killing
Ruppel attributed the recent reappearance in Kandy of large
numbers of mother dogs with puppies to dumping, probably by
dogcatchers from other cities–a common problem in many economically
disadvantaged nations, as communities without effective Animal Birth
Control programs try to relocate unwanted animals to communities that
have them.
Nationally, according to Smriti Daniel of the Kandy Times,
“The government is relying heavily on contraceptive depo-provera
injections for female dogs. Between 2005 and 2006, the number of
injections administered jumped from 5,651 to 49,968. While simply
injecting dogs may seem the lesser of two evils, the other choice
being exterminating them,” Daniel added, “animal activists have
voiced serious concerns over the use of the injection, believing it
to be seriously detrimental to the dog’s health, possibly responsible
for malignant mammary tumors in the animals.”
Said Champa Fernando of KACPAW, the largest animal welfare
organization in Kandy, “At the moment we are unable to urge the
government to stop its chemical birth control program, given the
no-kill policy, the [reported] increase in the dog population [to
about 2.5 million nationally], and the increase in rabies incidence
in the country.”
Director of Public Health Veterinary Services P.A.L.
Haris-chandra told Daniel that Sri Lanka had 73 human rabies cases in
2006, up from 55 in 2005, when the dog population may have been
temporarily reduced by the Indian Ocean tsunami of December 26, 2004.

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