Miranda Richardson visits stray dog project

Dec 13, 2007

Miranda Richardson visits a clinic, Sri Lanka

Oscar-nominated actress Miranda Richardson visited Sri Lanka this month to witness a pioneering stray dog project funded by the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA).

A committed supporter of WSPA, Miranda expressed a wish to see the front-line efforts of member society the Blue Paw Trust.

This Sri Lankan NGO operates mobile clinics and runs education and awareness-raising campaigns in partnership with the local authorities in Colombo, where there are over 3,000 street dogs.

Life on the streets

The dogs commonly suffer from malnutrition and a range of diseases, including rabies. This remains endemic in Sri Lanka, resulting in $5 million in post-rabies exposure treatments annually across the country.

Many of the dogs will have been dumped on the streets by owners unable to cope with an unwanted litter of puppies. They survive by scavenging through rubbish.

Some will be new mothers with litters of puppies that they are unable to sustain due to poor nutrition and the puppies susceptibility to disease.

Sustainable solutions

To help these animals, the Blue Paw Trust dog project aims to:

  • Educate the community in responsible pet ownership, including registering their pets.
  • Develop accessible veterinary services to reduce the numbers of injured and sick dogs.
  • Introduce widespread neutering programs to reduce the numbers of mothers and puppies on the streets.
  • Educate adults and children to reduce the incidence of dog bites and rabies.
  • Create ‘dog managed zones’ through improved litter collection/prevention of litter dumping.
  • Support the local authorities to provide a humane and efficient dog population management service.

The two mobile clinics are out most days of the week, staffed by Blue Paw Trust vets and funded by WSPA. The clinics are equipped with mini-surgical units, vaccination equipment, drugs and medical treatment.

They mark the beginning of a project with the local municipal authorities and local NGO Blue Paw Trust that will be funded by WSPA for the next five years.

Speaking of her experiences in Sri Lanka, Miranda said:

“I think the work that WSPA and the Blue Paw Trust are doing is absolutely heroic, it’s something that is really working, and I hope we can help them see it replicated in many other places around the world in the future.”

“The vets working at the mobile clinics were quite honestly extraordinary, so  devoted, kindly and unflappable. What they managed to achieve in such difficult circumstances was amazing.”

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