Challenge          Solution          Infrastructure         Partners         Team

Global Dog Campaign | Ending Dog Homelessness

Watch this video for a quick peek at what the Global Dog Campaign is all about.

The Challenge

Around 800 million dogs (range 700 million to 1 billion) share our world, about 300 million of whom are “homeless.” These dogs have high mortality rates, especially their puppies, the majority of whom do not survive their first year of life. “Homeless” or street dogs are primarily found in human communities scavenging for food and sheltering wherever they can. They carry a heavy parasite burden, and when such a dog gets ill or is injured, it will not receive any health care. WBI’s Global GDC Team includes recruited experts in their fields with years of field experience and a dedication to the mission to improve the outlook for and the lives of these 300 million homeless dogs across the globe. The team’s mission is to ensure that these homeless dogs are more likely to experience the benefits of being humankind’s “best friends.”

WBI aims to track approaches that reduce populations of homeless dogs and encourage greater care for dogs in countries worldwide. While a few dog management projects have achieved and reported impressive results, most do not report their impact across multiple years. WBI, with its Consortium Implementing Partners (CIPs), will establish demonstration sites that include support for vaccinations & sterilizations, street dog surveys, and the development of multi-year data sets and analysis. These sites will test and then showcase the most effective strategies that improve dog and community well-being.

While there are an estimated 300 million “homeless” dogs, the term is surprisingly challenging to define.  Many dogs observed on the streets may be claimed by a particular household. For example, one study found that over 90% of dogs on the street in two Balinese villages and two South African townships were claimed to be “theirs” by specific households.  Still, the dogs lived on the streets and rarely received any treatment for disease or injury. After much consideration, WBI defines a homeless dog as spending most of its time on the streets and receiving little to no health care.

For this Campaign, WBI defines a homeless dog as one that spends most or all its time on the streets and receives little to no health care.  Studies indicate such homeless dogs receive most of their food from specific human handouts (garbage on the street has limited nutritional value).  Thus, the defining features of dog homelessness are a life on the streets and little or no veterinary care provided by humans.

Homeless dogs, or street dogs, experience high incidences of disease and injury, and their lives are much shorter than those of pet (“homed”) dogs. Such dogs are usually not provided safe shelter, and a specific household does not significantly control their behavior. These dogs are often not vaccinated against rabies or other diseases and lack basic veterinary care. Sadly, approximately 75% of puppies born to homeless dogs die before they are a year old.

Homeless dogs may also adversely affect communities. Challenges include dog bites, rabies, other diseases, and harassment of people, domestic animals, and wildlife. Also, programs to manage homeless dogs usually do not sufficiently engage local stakeholders and animal advocates and often opt for short-term and non-sustainable methods.

Most of the world’s homeless dogs live in low and middle-income countries (LMICs). Even though a substantial majority of these homeless dogs may be claimed (i.e., loosely “owned”) by specific households in the community, these dogs cause multiple problems for the community (e.g., nuisance, bites, disease, etc.). There are few homeless dogs in high-income countries.  The relative populations of dogs (including both homed and homeless) vary widely globally, as indicated in the interactive global map below.

Total Dogs Per 1000 People by Country

Little girl giving water to street dogCampaigns have been launched in the late 20th century (Latin America) and in the 21st century (Africa and Asia) to eliminate rabies in LMICs in Asia and Africa. In 2004, the WHO estimated that 59,000 people died from rabies; almost all contracted the disease from a dog bite. The anti-rabies Campaign in Latin America was very successful, but progress has been limited in Asia and Africa. Today, it is estimated that the direct costs of global rabies prevention, including the treatment of dog bites, are more than $2 billion a year, with an additional $6 billion in indirect costs such as loss of work time.

The humane and effective management of homeless dogs may also have significant social consequences for communities. In Bosnia, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) found that some surveyed communities reported having problems caused by roaming dogs. As a result, the UNDP set up a partnership with the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) to address the issue in several trial communities. Over the next few years, community-led efforts successfully mitigated the problem of roaming dogs. Those efforts also reduced ethnic tensions as the community representatives worked together to solve the local dog problem as an unexpected side benefit.

There are so many good reasons to develop and implement humane and effective management approaches for homeless dogs.  These reasons include reducing human disease contracted from dogs, dog nuisance, dog suffering, and homeless dog numbers while improving community relations.

Estimated Percentages of “Homeless” Dogs by Continent or Country

80%

East Africa

20%

Brazil

35%

Southern Africa

72%

India

40%

China

25%

Thailand

12%

Eastern Europe

35%

Philippines

2%

Northern Europe

3%

Australasia

2%

USA & Canada

40%

World

The Solution

Solving these challenges (for dogs, people, and the environment) requires a much deeper understanding of dog demographics and the approaches that reduce suffering and increase well-being in the communities. It also requires greater cooperation among the organizations seeking to develop humane solutions. While more local, national, and international animal organizations provide direct care for homeless dogs (such as sterilization and vaccination services), no one organization has been tracking these efforts or their impacts. As a result, we do not know what approaches work the best or are the most cost-effective. Until now.

WBI’s Global Dog Campaign aims to end dog homelessness (and hardship) worldwide, leading to more humane communities for dogs, people, and wildlife. This Campaign will partner with existing public health, animal protection, and other implementing organizations to determine the most successful dog management interventions. WBI, with its Consortium Implementing Partners (CIPs), will establish demonstration sites that include support for vaccinations & sterilizations, street dog surveys, and the development of multi-year data sets and analysis. These sites will test and then showcase the most effective strategies that improve dog and community well-being.

This project is built on three pillars.

  • The first pillar focuses on the systematic collection, storage, analysis, and use of data.
  • The second pillar identifies local case studies that have effectively managed dogs and the associated resource allocation. WBI aims to support street dog surveys and sterilization and vaccination programs of local partners and use the metrics and impacts from those projects to identify the most effective resource allocation for maximum impact.
  • The third pillar focuses on ensuring local, municipal, state, and national public policy agendas include the goal of ending dog homelessness and connecting humane dog management with associated public health outcomes. These public health outcomes include eliminating dog rabies and reducing dog bite incidence.

WBI will raise funds to provide direct care for sterilizations and vaccinations implemented across control and experimental sites. Funding will also be raised to support dog surveys, project data collection and storage, and project analysis via the WBI Data Repository. Progress in ending dog homelessness and creating more humane communities will be reported annually via a Collaborating, Learning & Adapting (CLA) framework. The WBI Global Dog Campaign website and the WBI Studies Repository will provide open access to all information and results.

WBI aims to end dog homelessness country by country. The GDC will support local, municipal, state, and national stakeholders in promoting the importance of addressing “Dog Homelessness” to improve the well-being of dogs, people, and nature. Hundreds of millions of dollars are currently being expended globally on local dog management programs, and billions of dollars are devoted to rabies prevention and the treatment of dog bites. These funds would be more effectively deployed and more impactful if local and national projects were better integrated. The GDC aims to provide such integration and build global collaboration to end dog homelessness.

The Infrastructure

WBI has built the foundational infrastructure to support the Global Dog Campaign across the world.  In addition, WBI has completed a test of this infrastructure in Costa Rica with a flagship partner. WBI has identified, provided, or established:

Implementation Partners

Identified a select number of organizations committed to assisting dogs in their communities.

Resources

Provided access to training (CLA), expertise and software tools to implement a project with a flagship partner in a test country.

Fundraising

Raised (and continues to raise) needed funding for the campaign's foundational work and global implementing projects.

Reporting & Tracking

Provided leadership and resources to enable an implementing partner to report data.

Direct Care Services

Committed funds to support direct care services (sterilization and vaccinations) to a flagship partner in the test country.

Reporting Protocols

Developed data reporting protocols for surveys and monitoring reports.

Survey Implementation

Implemented household and homeless (``street``) dog population surveys in one of the flagship locations.

Centralized Repository

Developed a database to house longitudinal data on dogs and their communities.

The Consortium Implementing Partners

WBI’s initial outreach identified an initial group of specific flagship project locations in different countries (see below) in Latin America (one location – Costa Rica) and Asia (three locations – Jaipur, India; Chennai, India; Kabul, Afghanistan). An additional site will be identified in Africa.

AHPPA

Costa Rica

Blue Cross of India

Chennai, India

Mayhew Afghanistan

Kabul, Afghanistan

Help in Suffering

Jaipur, India

The Team

WBI has recruited experts in their respective fields accompanied by years of field experience. Overall, the GDC Global team provides the expertise needed to effectively implement the Global Dog Campaign and deliver the maximum impact for the well-being of dogs and their communities. Each member’s skillsets have been carefully matched to the project’s needs to deliver results. Each has demonstrated an ability to work in a team, a sense of humor, and dedication to the mission. Most have donated their services in our start-up phase.

Andrew Rowan, DPhil

Global Program Sponsor

Kathleen Rowan

Global Project Manager

Photo of Tyler Flockhart

Tyler Flockhart, PhD

Population Ecologist & Conservation Biologist

John Boone

John Boone, PhD

Global Survey & Analysis Expert

Josh Coefer

Global Database, Systems & Software Director

Rahul Sehgal

Rahul Sehgal

Global Dog Management Expert

Laura Gosse

Laura Gosse

Communications Lead

Be a Part of the Global Dog Campaign

There are many good reasons to develop and implement humane and effective management approaches for homeless dogs and their communities. These reasons include reducing homeless dog numbers, reducing human diseases contracted from dogs and dog bites, reducing dog suffering, and reducing dog nuisance. These actions will provide greater well-being for homeless dogs, people, and communities. Please join us in supporting the Global Dog campaign through your generous donation.

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