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The Challenge

For a quick peek at what the Global Dog Campaign is all about, watch this video.

 

Around 800 million dogs (range 700 million to 1 billion) share our world, about 40% of whom are “homeless.” Dog homelessness is a surprisingly challenging term to define.  It turns out many dogs observed on the streets may be claimed by a particular household (over 90% of dogs on the street in two Balinese villages and two South African townships).  For this Campaign, WBI defines a homeless dog as one that spends most or all of their 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 relatively 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.

 

Communities may also be affected adversely by homeless dogs. 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, yet these dogs cause multiple problems for the community (e.g., nuisance, bites, disease, etc.). There are relatively 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 a growing number of local, national, and international animal organizations are providing direct care for both homeless and homed 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 was working or was the most cost-effective. Until now . . .

 

Well-Being International (WBI) launched the Global Dog Campaign to end dog hardship and homelessness worldwide, leading to more humane communities. This Campaign will partner with existing public health, animal protection, and other implementing organizations to determine the most successful dog management interventions.  WBI will provide direct care for sterilizations and vaccinations implemented across control and experimental sites.  Funding for dog surveys, data collection, storage, and analysis via the WBI Data Repository, along with monitoring & evaluation and community outreach, will be provided.  Reports and findings will then be promoted via a Collaborating, Learning & Adapting (CLA) framework. Information and results will be shared on the WBI Global Dog Campaigns website and the WBI Studies Repository.

 

The outcome of this Campaign will include a reduction in the homelessness and suffering of dogs and the spread of more humane communities across the globe.  Data collection leads to better information and more reliable assessments of what needs to be done, hopefully (politics permitting), to more effective and successful interventions for dogs and people.

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.

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AHPPA

Costa Rica
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Blue Cross of India

Chennai, India
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Mayhew Afghanistan

Kabul, Afghanistan
Caught-dog-in-sack-HIS_295

Help in Suffering

Jaipur, India

The Team

andrewRowan_199
Andrew Rowan, DPhil
Global Chief Program Officer
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Kathleen Rowan
Global Project Management Officer
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Tyler Flockhart, PhD
Population Ecologist & Conservation Biologist
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John Boone, PhD
Global Survey & Analysis Expert
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Josh Coefer
GIS and Database Professional
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Rahul Sehgal
Global Dog Management Expert
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Laura Gosse
Communications Lead

Be a Part of the Global Dog Campaign

There are so many good reasons to develop and implement humane and effective management approaches for homeless dogs, including a reduction of human disease contracted from dogs, a reduction of dog nuisance, a reduction of dog suffering, the improvement of community relations a reduction in homeless dog numbers. Please join us in supporting the Global Dog campaign through your generous donation.

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