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Sierra Leone News: Animal protection and welfare legislation under review- Dr Gudus Jalloh

Dr. Jalloh with Assistance performing routine medical checkVeterinary Specialist of 30 years’ experience, Dr Gudus Jalloh has in an interview disclosed that the Sierra Leone Animal Protection and Welfare Legislation are presently under review.
Dr Gudus Jalloh who is the Coordinator of the Sierra Leone Animal Welfare Society (SLAWS) informed Awoko that because of the inhumane treatment suffered by animals in the Country, especially domestic pets, his organisation together with all partners are presently reviewing all legislations regarding animal health and welfare, including cruelty by some pet owners as well as haters of pets.
He explained that SLAWS was established in 1988 with support from external animal welfare societies and the World animal welfare society, and has since been the source of rescue and hope for both domestic and farm animals.
Seating in his small office along Congo Cross, which also houses a pet clinic, Dr Gudus Jalloh said the challenges are huge, but with the small support from partners SLAWS has performed miracles and is still working with communities to save the lives of domestic pets and give them a better life. However he noted, more logistics is needed to make more impact and raise community awareness, on the importance of treating animals humanely.
Questioned on collaboration to rid the country of stray dogs which is still on the increase, Dr Jalloh sighed heavily and bowed his head, “God knows I have tried, because according to law all animals should be kept indoors and properly cared for by its owner and when coming out, all pets should be on leash and controlled by its owner to avoid public nuisance, but this is not the pattern in Sierra Leone”.
He noted that many a time he had tried to get support to rescue stray dogs, but all attempts have so far failed. However with meagre resources he has been able to rescue quite a good number and brought them to Congo Cross for shelter, which yielded dividends, little knowing trouble was brewing.
After several months it was hard for some of the dogs to adapt to a new life of solitude, as a result some of them went haywire and caused havoc around the neighbourhood, damaging plants and other material goods.
As he narrated his ordeal, Dr Jalloh said he had to pay damage and as food supplies dwindled, he was left with no alternative but to let go of the dogs that had become recalcitrant.
He furthered that because dogs are man’s best friend but had become a menace on the streets, funds were solicited to carry out a vaccination programme to render sterile both male and female street dogs, in order to reduce their population growth.
The sterilization and disease prevention programme seemed to work for a while, but those that were left out infiltrated and started producing, and the street dog population in Freetown, especially in urban communities is on the increase again. “This is unacceptable, Government has to act fast to curb the menace, because the animals pollute the streets and those with diseases such as rabies are a threat to the public, also some are run down by hit and run motorists, which is very inhumane to the animals.”
Concluding he commended the world animal welfare as well as the Freetown City Council and other partners for the effort to revise all animal protection legislation, which at the end will come up with better and acceptable laws to protect animal welfare and bring to justice people who perpetrate neglect and cruelty to their pets.
By Ade Campbell
Friday July 15, 2016

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