Baghdad To Kill A Million Stray Dogs

More than a million stray dogs roaming Baghdad are facing destruction.The initiative has so far led to 42,000 strays being killed in only two months.Teams of riflemen and vets are trying to thin out a rogue canine population that has reached at least 1,250,000. Numbers grew hugely after the fall of Saddam because of the lawless state of the Iraqi capital.But with the streets now much safer, the authorities are trying to clear out the stray dogs.

‘We could consider this the biggest campaign of dog execution ever,’ said Baghdad chief veterinarian, Mohammed al-Hilly.Mr al-Hilly claimed the huge amounts of litter that began heaping up in the capital as violence paralysed public services had helped to trigger the problem.The cull involves 20 specialist teams each consisting of two shooters and two vets, often backed up by police patrols.The dogs are either shot or poisoned and their bodies are then taken to refuse dumps.

Mr al-Hilly said the cull was the only option given the numbers of dogs on the loose.Culling stray dogs was a nightly routine under Saddam, but the rapid deterioration in security after the U.S. invasion kept the veterinary teams off the streets.Now, authorities have 20 dedicated teams each consisting of two shooters and two veterinarians, often accompanied by police patrols on daytime operations.

The campaign is financed to the tune of 35 million Iraqi dinars £20,000 from the Baghdad Governorate Council and mayor’s office.Kareema Mousa, head of the department of health and environment in the Baghdad governorate council, said there were an estimated 1.25 to 1.5million stray dogs in Baghdad, a city of some 7 million people.’They cause many diseases for humans, so to eliminate them is a service to the citizens,’ he said.In Shula district, local resident Mohammed Hussein, said: ‘I wish they would kill all the dogs because they are harmful, they carry diseases and I’m afraid for my children.’

The 40-year-old father of nine added: ‘We encourage the authorities in their campaign and we are ready to help.’



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