Adorable allies

Kathmandu:

People should understand that dogs too have feelings. They aren’t just play things. Stray dogs are especially seen as a nuisance, but people don’t see that this is a problem that can be solved,” says Jan Salter, Founder Member, KAT (Kathmandu Animal Treatment) Centre.

And she noticed that most people didn’t even take the slightest notice of — that Kathmandu had too many dogs and unfortunately to control their population they were being poisoned and killed, around 10,000 every year to reduce the number, which she felt was not a very good option.

So, to find a viable and more effective solution than killing these dogs, Salter went to Jaipur, where she learnt about animal birth control programme which had been quite successful

in reducing the number of dogs in the city, and had also been able to get rid of the rabies problem.

“They were using a method approved by WHO and is being applied worldwide. It is the modern way of dealing with the problems of stray dogs and I felt it needed to come to Kathmandu.”

So, it was this thought

and her love for dogs that saw the establishment of KAT in Chapali Goan, Budhanilkantha in 2004 and will be celebrating its fourth anniversary on May 24. It is open to the public if anyone wants to visit.

The first thing one notices about KAT is how well maintained it is and how clean the dogs are. Explaining about the programmes KAT, Indra Dhoj Kshetri, Communication Officer at KAT, said, “Our major programme is ABC (Animal Birth Control), which is sterilising female dogs to control their population. Around 5,700 dogs have been sterilised so far.”

They use the ‘Key Hole Side Flank Spray’ method for sterilisation which is a bloodless and aseptic way, said Dr BC Jha, who has

taken special training for it from Jaipur.

The programme has been quite a success and the number of dogs in the areas they have worked in has considerably decreased.

The other programme they have is Rescue Treatment. Dogs that are diseased or injured, mostly due to human cruelty like throwing hot water or acids, hitting them with sharp weapons, kicking and mostly traffic accidents, are brought here for treatment.

The other category is dogs which are suspected to have rabies and manze that are brought in, while in some cases on the spot treatment is also done.

“When we treat dogs for such diseases, it is not

only them but the community itself that becomes safer,” said Jha.

“We also provide Re-Homing services, which is giving the dogs for adoption after properly checking in with the people,” said Kshetri.

The other on-going programme they are conducting is Public Education under which they visit different schools and also invite schools to visit the centre

to give information regarding the centre and stray

dogs. For all KAT’s endeavours, WSPA (World Society for the Protection of Animals) funds it.

And after all the efforts put in by them, there are bound to be changes in the area they have worked in. Says Khageshwar Sharma, Manager with satisfaction, “We have seen noticeable differences, like there are a lot more healthier dogs, there

is a consciousness among people in the communities towards street dogs which was lacking earlier, the population of dogs has decreased and a lot of dogs have been treated.”