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Low awareness, lack of legislation exacerbate Jordan’s stray dog issue, say experts

By Rayya Al Muheisen - May 13,2023 - Last updated at May 13,2023

A pack of stray dogs is seen in Amman’s Dahiat Al Rashid neighbourhood (Photo by Amjad Ghsoun)

 

AMMAN —  Stray dogs roaming Jordan’s residential areas remains a significant challenge that requires authorities and citizens to collaborate on solutions in order to ensure a safe and healthy environment for humans and animals alike, suggest experts. 

Stray dogs have been a long-standing issue in Jordan, prompting concern among citizens, animal rights activists and veterinarians. While some may consider stray dogs to be a minor nuisance, others claim that the animals pose significant risks to public health and safety.

Shtoura Adwan, animal welfare director at Greater Amman Municipality (GAM), previously told The Jordan Times that Jordan adopts a humane method known as “ABC” (animal birth control), also commonly referred to as TNR (trap-neuter-return), to control the population of stray dogs and cats.

Many governorates have already built humane animal centres where stray dogs can be neutered, vaccinated and kept away from humans. “This keeps humans away from some vicious stay dogs as well,” Adwan said. 

“The problem with stray dogs in Jordan is the lack of proper animal welfare legislation and enforcement,” said Batool, an animal rights activist who works at a humane animal centres who preferred to be identified by only her first name.

Batool told The Jordan Times that the “absence” of legislation has allowed irresponsible pet owners to abandon their animals, leading to overpopulation and an increase in the number of stray dogs on the streets.

In addition, there is a lack of knowledge of responsible pet ownership among the general public, which exacerbates the problem, Batool added.

“To overcome this challenge, it is essential for the authorities to take responsibility for the issue. The government needs to implement strict animal welfare laws and regulations, such as mandatory microchipping and pet registration, spaying and neutering programmes, and licensing breeders and pet shops,” she said. 

Moreover, it is essential to provide funding for animal welfare organisations that help care for the stray dogs, Batool added. 

Veterinarian Anas Odat told The Jordan Times that regular veterinary care, including spay and neuter operations, “is extremely important” for pets.

Odat suggested that the government allocate funds for veterinary clinics in underserved areas to provide affordable healthcare for pets and stray animals.

“Allocating funds to build animal welfare centres in underserved areas is extremely important to control stray animal populations and ensure people’s safety and wellbeing,” Odat added. 

However, citizens also have a duty to help overcome this challenge, Odat noted. “They can do so by adopting and caring for animals instead of abandoning them, reporting stray dogs to the authorities or animal welfare organisations and raising awareness of responsible pet ownership in their communities,” he said.

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