Several letters have been published in the Borneo Bulletin on the issue of stray dogs in Brunei Darussalam.
Where do these strays come from and how do we prevent them from increasing to an unmanageable number?
Strays will produce more strays but we have to remember that all strays were once pets kept by humans who then abandoned them when things got tough.
People should be mindful of their responsibilities before getting a pet. If you don’t want your female pet to have puppies – spaying is a must.
Think what you are going to do with your pet if you, say, have to leave the country after a few years or have to move to a smaller apartment unsuitable for pets.
It is selfish and cruel to simply dump your pet (or worse your pet with a litter of unwanted puppies) by the roadside.
I have witnessed this a few times and it is heartbreaking to see the puzzled animal running after its masters’ car not realising it was abandoned.
There should be a law making it an offence to abandon pets in public spaces just as it is an offence to dump rubbish indiscriminately!
As for the strays that are roaming around in packs, rummaging through rubbish bins, making a racket and generally being a nuisance, they should be rounded up, neutered and placed in animal shelters.
There are a number of people who are willing and able to care for these strays but the pressing issue is where to house them.
If a scheme is devised where the city authorities provides vacant land to shelter the strays while volunteers could then look after them and vets could do their part by providing sterilising operations at much reduced costs.
Organisations could raise funds for the upkeep of the shelters but first and foremost there must be vacant land available for these shelters.
How we tackle this problem of strays would be a reflection of our humaneness as a society.
Together we can do it.
And it is high time we do it.