It is almost everyone’s pet today. Everyone has a reason for keeping it in their homes; for security purposes, for companionship, to keep us active and healthy among many other reasons.
A dog has been considered a man’s best friend. However, there comes many rules and regulations that one ought to know and follow when handling a dog.
This week, Chams Media team under the Chamwada Report program focused on the story of ‘Better Lives for dogs’.
Keeping in mind that Kawangware is a location known to have many roaming dogs, Chams Media team used this area as their case study. The question was, how should dogs be handled and why is it important to know of this?
Residents of Kawangware had mixed reactions on the roaming dogs in their area. Some claimed the dogs are their saviours when it comes to being attacked by thieves whereas others, on the other hand, believed they are a menace to the community.
In the neighbouring Dagoretti area, there exist many dogs as well. Here, the dog population is higher since they have access to leftovers from the slaughterhouses.
Peter Kyalo is a dog owner who believes he takes care of his dogs despite them always roaming around. Unlike Kyalo who keeps dogs for security purposes, Abraham Otieno, a garage operator at Kawangware, keeps dogs for company. He is aware, however, that these pets should be vaccinated monthly.
The Kenya Society for the Protection and Care of Animals (KSPCA) is a charity organization that works on upholding the welfare of animals. Dr. Diana Onyango, the Executive Officer of KSPCA, claims most of these dogs usually end up on the streets thanks to irresponsible ownership.
“If people became responsible animal owners, we would not have so many stray animals,” she said.
What everyone ought to understand is that there exists a dreaded risk that comes with irresponsible dog handling. This is contracting rabies; the viral disease that attacks the brain. Rabies is not curable and thus kills within a maximum number of ten days.
Dr. Matthew Muturi, from the Zoonotic Disease Unit, says, “Approximately 2000 people in Kenya die of rabies each year.”
Tennyson Williams, the Director of the Africa Office of the World Animal Protection, is among many experts who claim that better lives for dogs would result in dogs living peacefully with humans. Just like any other person, a dog has various rights and freedoms that ought to be upheld.
A dog must be vaccinated once every year against rabies and other diseases to ensure it lives peacefully with humans. If one is to keep a dog, it is advisable to get one from a professional breeder. One ought to be worried when he is around a dog that behaves abnormally or unusually.
This way, rabies bites can be avoided. A dog is a pet everyone ought to have; however to keep it, one needs to always adhere to the rules.
Better lives for dogs part two- How Makueni County treats its dogs
Following the Chamwada Report program on better Lives for Dogs a week ago, we received good feedback from our viewers who now understand the importance of dog vaccination. Most persons were not aware that dogs ought to be vaccinated.
Others could not believe that dogs ought to be licensed. By the end of the day, it was obvious that the show was quite educative.
As the world marked ‘The World Rabies Day’ on the 28th of September, Chams Media followed up on dog ownership in Makueni County and how awareness on the importance of responsible dog ownership is being made in this area.
Makueni County is known for many good deeds and has now been confirmed as the leading county in creating awareness of dog vaccination.
While we pitched camp in Makueni however, we met up with Priscilla Mutindi, a victim of a dog bite. She explained that she got attacked while at a neighbour’s place, where out of nowhere, a dog jumped on her, took out her flesh and fed on it. She was quite lucky that this specific dog had been vaccinated.
Bretta Mutisya, the Health Promotion Officer explains that it is important for each household with a dog to ensure it is vaccinated and if it ever bites a person, they should rush him to hospital after washing the wound for 15 minutes. A dog should not be killed after an attack so as to monitor whether it indeed has rabies.
There exist around 120,000 dogs in Makueni County. Dr. Martin Mboloi, C.O Livestock, and Fisheries Development explains that Makueni is a pilot county where a project on rabies elimination is being done. Last year, Makueni recorded a total of 749 dog bites and through that, they managed to know which household owned rabid dogs.
Joseph Mutui is a village elder in Miseke village, Makueni County and a responsible dog owner who has taken the initiative to teach others on the importance of responsible dog ownership. He says that veterinary officers are common in their village and they educate on dog vaccination and how to avoid rabies attacks. Joseph is aware that his dogs have rights that ought to be upheld.
This year’s theme for the World Rabies Day is “Share the message and save a life.” If people create awareness on the importance of responsible dog keeping, then the world will be a better place.
The message is short and clear, ‘Dog bites can kill. One needs to vaccinate his dog and ensure all other dogs around him are equally vaccinated.”
Lavender Amunga contributed to this report. You can reach her via firstname.lastname@example.org