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US grant for Samoa Animal Protection Society to manage stray dogs

Dr. Harriet Thornton of the Animal Protection Society of Samoa
Source: RNZI

Apia, SAMOA — The Samoa Animal Protection Society is struggling for funding to manage the stray dog population in Samoa. The not-for-profit also provides veterinary and health services to cats, dogs and other animals.

The clinic is busier than ever, according to one of the society's veterinarians, Dr. Harriet Thornton, thanks to a recent grant from the US government — for community education and awareness — which has helped raise their profile in Samoa.

However, Dr Thornton said getting funding for a de-sexing program is still difficult.

"There is a true stray dog population and the police dog management unit work to try and pick up the stray dogs but really that's such a small proportion that they are able to pick up that desexing programs are the only way to stabilize the population here," she said.

The other problem with the roaming dog population, said Dr Thornton, was that a lot of them were actually owned but it wasn't clear as they were not registered and their owners do not put collars on them.

[Samoa News notes that the Territory faced a similar problem — roaming dogs, as well as no collars and non-registration — in the past years, but was able to get it under control after bringing in many de-sexing programs that included the cat population, and having a strong veterinary clinic program spearheaded by the Dept. of Agriculture that hired a US certified animal doctor. Unfortunately, Am. Samoa is once again on the verge of a health crisis due to roaming dogs & cats, as it no longer has a US certified veterinarian on staff able to provide the care needed to sustain healthy animals, especially pets.)