In a desert country like the UAE, stray animals are not only miserable and deprived of attention and proper nutrition, but also struggle to survive the summer months, especially the younger ones.
So humanely reducing their numbers is a long term commitment for the community. Therefore, Trap-Neuter-Release program (TNR) is one of the key initiatives undertaken by the RAK Animal Welfare Centre (AWC).
The program consists of trapping stray animals in Ras Al Khaimah, neutering them and releasing them back into their surroundings to live out their life without any risk of breeding.
TNR is an effective long-term solution to help manage the overpopulation of stray animals. The centre has a full time catching team, who are constantly in the city trapping stray animals.
Many of the cats and dogs who are happy to be around humans get vaccinated, neutered, flea dipped, dewormed and remain at the centre in the hope of finding them a forever home.
Our aim for 2013 is to have trapped, neutered and released over 800 animals.
People who wish to do their part can help us by reporting stray animals to RAK AWC so we can assess the health and safety of the animals concerned. We will not release a sick cat/dog or return them to an area that is deemed unsafe.
The next best way for people to help is to by being a responsible pet owner. If someone decides to have a pet, it is a life-time commitment. They need to carefully consider whether they are prepared to make the commitment for their pet’s whole life span and whether they are prepared to take it with them no matter the circumstances that may arise in the future.
Unfortunately, a lot of animals found roaming the streets have previously been someone’s pet and suffer not only from severe neglect, but also from lack of interaction with humans. A domestic pet is not designed to forage or hunt for food like a stray one.
Pet owners should also sterilise their pet as soon as it is old enough - over eight weeks.
There are currently many unwanted animals in shelters around the UAE looking for a home, and adding to their population will mean they will take longer home, adding to the problem. Unfortunately, there are just not enough responsible homes for all the unwanted animals out there.
The reader is the office manager for the RAK Animal Welfare Centre.
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