The increasing dog population in the district of Naviti, Yasawa will now be under control following a spaying and neutering exercise recently conducted at Kese Village, Naviti.
The Ministry of Agriculture together with the Charles Sturt University, Fiji National University and Vinaka Fiji Yasawa Trust Foundation collaborated to bring the dog population under control through the spaying and neutering exercise.
Vinaka Fiji General Manager, Ms. Elenoa Nimacere said the introduction of the program, though new to the villagers, was beneficial for the district.
“The control of the dog population came up during the tikina meetings and was requested by the village headmen as the concern on the number of dogs in the tikina that bit children and visitors and sickly villagers kept increasing,” Ms Nimacere said.
“With that, the Ministry of Agriculture informed us of the clinic as no one has helped Yasawa in terms of providing care for dogs and how they are looked after as well as maintaining and controlling their population,” she said.
Charles Sturt University Veterinary Doctor Julie Ramsay said this was a continuous practice of the past clinics held in Fiji.
“We have been performing this clinic for the past few years and the aim of the clinic here in Naviti is to not only sterilize dogs but also to increase the health and well-being of the dogs because healthy dogs make for healthier people,” she said.
This spaying program includes the insertion of the newly introduced micro-chips as a form of identification on the sterilized animals, the first to be introduced in Fiji.
“For the microchip, this is used in Australia and America and other places, it is a little digital transponder that’s about the size of a grain of rice,” she said.
“We just inject it under the skin and that means wherever the dog goes if it gets lost we can scan it and find the microchip number and then build a database and can reunite owners with dogs straight away,” Dr. Ramsay said.
“It is different from ear or collar tags that come off and get lost, microchips are very rare to stop working and are a quite efficient method of finding lost dogs and we are using it so when we come back next year we are able to recognize the improvement of the dog,” he said.
The Ministry of Agriculture’s Veterinarian, Dr. Leo Borja said the Ministry has also focused on Responsible Pet Ownership.
“We intend to de-sex as many male and female dogs as possible so we can actually control the unwanted pregnancies of dogs.
“Awareness has also been conducted with the villagers on being responsible pet owners to give them the sense of ownership, in that way, they will look after the dogs properly and ensure the dogs are treated well,” Dr. Borja said.
Meanwhile, a similar Spaying and Neutering of dogs and cats will be held in Suva this week.