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Governor Mandago should save residents from killer stray dogs

EDITORIAL
By Editorial | May 14th 2020

Residents of Block 10 in Eldoret carry of the dogs they say have mauled three people to death in the area. [Kevin Tunoi, Standard]

Forced to stay indoors by coronavirus, residents of some estates in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County, have a new menace to deal with. They now live in fear of stray dogs that have killed three people and at least 25 sheep since January.

The latest victim was mauled to death and partly eaten by the dogs on Tuesday night, which raises a pertinent question; how could the presence of not less than 20 marauding dogs go unnoticed by the county government officers and other relevant authorities for months, especially when they have caused deaths?

Clearly, the pack of stray killer dogs cannot have been vaccinated against rabies, yet dogs are the main carriers of the disease. Besides the reported deaths after the dog attacks, there is a risk of others being attacked and exposed to rabies, a killer disease quite costly to manage. The Uasin Gishu County Government, under Governor Jackson Mandago, must move with haste to arrest a potentially more dangerous situation.

No doubt, by-laws exist that guide keeping of pets and dogs in urban areas, but the rules appear to have been ignored by county governments. In many urban residential estates across the country, it is common to find dogs roaming about when their owners should have them on leashes or in their kernels.

The Eldoret cases are just some of many that call for stringent measures in ensuring dogs are vaccinated, domesticated and kept away from where they become a nuisance to neighbours and passers-by. Where dog owners can be traced, they must be taken to task to prove they have observed all rules relevant to rearing dogs in an urban residential area. Proof of vaccinations of the dogs should be produced, but more importantly, stray dogs must be taken away from estates where they terrorise residents.

Uasin Gishu County Government in collaboration with the Kenya Society for the Protection and Care of Animals, and indeed other stakeholders, should find an acceptable way of dealing with this menace. Rounding up the dogs, vaccinating them against rabies and finding them homes where they can get good care should be top on the cards. Nairobi County sought to control stray dogs through the enaction of Dog Control and Welfare Act 2015, Number 10 of 2016, which should be enforced and emulated elsewhere.

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