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Ending inhumane culling of dogs in Sri Lanka: stopping Colombo’s culls

Every year, for more than 15 years, more than 2,000 dogs were rounded up and gassed in the city of Colombo, causing horrific suffering to every single one of them. But, thanks to a WSPA-funded project, Colombo’s dogs are safer and healthier than ever before.

In the 1990s, Colombo’s roaming dog population was unhealthy and growing out of control. Fearing rabies, city authorities sanctioned the mass killing of dogs, despite many being considered pets by local people.

A third of the city’s dogs disappeared from the streets. Rabies didn’t. At its peak, 70 dog rabies cases were reported in Colombo, despite the horrendous and painful deaths of thousands of dogs.

In 2007, WSPA and Sri Lankan organization Blue Paw Trust worked together to convince authorities to stop their cruel, costly and failing approach, and allow us to run a mass dog vaccination and public education program in the city – protecting dogs, protecting people and rebuilding the trust between them.

The results were startling: in the first year, dog rabies cases halved. And they have continued to fall year on year as the vaccination program has grown. At the end of 2010, there were only 10 cases in the entire city – down from a frightening peak of 70 during the culling years.

Blue Paw Trust reports that Colombo’s roaming dogs are now not only safer, but also healthier, suggesting local people are feeding and caring for them without fear. The collars vaccinated dogs are given are a symbol of protection and hope.

With your support, dogs can be safer everywhere. Visitors from 11 governments have seen the Colombo project in action: they witnessed a city rewarded for its compassion. We want to work with governments worldwide to encourage them to implement the only humane solution.

Demand the ending of inhumane culling in the fight against rabies. Join WSPA.

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