The Netherlands, The First Country In The World Without Stray Dogs

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netherlands first country without stray dogs

The Netherlands taught a lesson in commitment and respect for animals around the world, becoming the first country without stray dogs and the need to end the lives of abandoned animals. It has been a long road and required both collaboration, social awareness and political commitment, which has led to the necessary measures and legislation to ensure that there are no more abandoned dogs roaming the streets.

The question is how does a country achieve this seemingly complex goal? And why the Netherlands? To explain this, it must be emphasized that the Netherlands was the country with the most dogs in the 19th century and, as a result, suffered from strong rabies epidemics which reached high death rates. Fear of disease generated suspicion towards dogs and this led many Dutch people to abandon their pets and as a result the rate of stray dogs increased dramatically.

This dramatic situation made the Dutch situation realize that dog overpopulation was a social, political and public health problem and had to be addressed as such, with effective policies and measures. The first of these measures was the free sterilization of pets, followed by the establishment of Dog Research, a plan to: Collect, Sterilize, Vaccinate, Identify and Return. Another step has been the increase in taxes on the purchase of purebred dogs, encouraging adoption versus purchase for anyone looking for a companion dog.

But there was nothing left, the sentences were toughened with fines of up to 3 years in prison and € 16,000 for abandonment and animal abuse and a specific police force was created to prosecute and investigate these crimes. But not all is punishment and the law, education in empathy and respect for people’s best friends has led Dutch society to allow dogs to enter bars, shops and even cinemas, allowing to our four-legged friends to accompany their humans everywhere and thus promoting respect and union between the two species, a fundamental pillar for their coexistence and their care.

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