The situation of stray dogs and cats in Egypt is quite dramatic. Detailed statistics on the number of stray dogs and cats in Egypt and about the number of people bitten by dogs are not available. However, a recent study on the spread of rabies reported that:
“Egypt Data are very sparse, especially after the “Arab Spring”. From the limited data available, rabies virus has been conﬁrmed in this area for a long time. However, records about the disease disappeared up until the 18th century and only a few reliable resources exist from the beginning of the 20th century, during which time “Rabies Institute” was set up in Egypt for PEP and rabies diagnosis. During the late 1990s, the average number of human deaths reported to the WHO was 30–40 per year and 35 for the year 2000. The main vectors reported in 2000 were dogs, but cats, ruminants, horses and donkeys, rodents, and mongooses were also considered important. From 2000 to 2010, the situation has been stable, with an annual number of 80 human rabies cases reported. The Zoonotic Disease Department of the Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation reports the annual occurrence of community dog or wild canine bites in humans. All attending bitten persons receive PEP. To improve rabies control in Egypt, serious management of community dogs needs to be implemented, such as through a trap, vaccinate, neuter, and release (TVNR) method. Currently, more outdated approaches to dog population control are implemented. The TVNR method has already proven to be successful in a pilot study, which was ﬁnanced and supported by World Animal Protection. However, the national budget did not allow for the extension of this project.”
Egyptian institutions receive complaints from local people, claiming that stray dogs are aggressive and dangerous dogs. Unfortunately, the government acts accordingly to these complaints… the Veterinary Service Department in Egypt is responsible for the killing of countless numbers of stray animals. Poisoning with strychnine (an alkaloid that can be fatal to humans and other animals and poses also highly toxic environmental risks) is a common method of free roaming cats and dogs murder, but in some areas of the country shooting is a common practice too.
Fortunately, stray cats and dogs are lovely and tenaciously protected by many animal welfare associations against the abuses perpetrated by Egyptian authorities that, without further ado, should engage in the planning and implementation of humane dog population control programs. Some NGOs are implementing successful Trap/Neuter/Vaccinate/Release programs and some activist have contacted the government to discuss humane dog population control methods.
…but there is also good news!!!
There is a proposed legislative amendement for article #357 of the Egyptian law, that has been submitted by MP Nadia Henry, to state the following:-
“A penalty of imprisonment or a fine of not more than 10,000 EGP shall be punishable for the intentional killing, or poisoning, or trading for the purpose of eating an animal, whether domesticated, or left/stray, or had done the animal severe harm”
The Parliament member confirmed that she is in the process of preparing a resolution draft that will include all aspects of animal protection, including cattle (livestock), in compliance with the Egyptian constitution.
Egyptian animal welfare associations are actually discussing with the government to find more human ways to control the number of stray animals in the country and trying to press on adopting the animal protection law. If passed, this law would solve many problems: the Government itself would be frightened to do anything against it and would have to contract the TVNR as the only humane solution.
OIPA thanks its member league “Touch of Life Organization” that provided us with important information. The association has a big shelter hosting a large number of animals, mainly cats and dogs. Due to scarce financial resources, Touch of Life cannot carry out massive TVNR projects but does its best to spay, neuter and vaccinate the largest possible number of rescued animals. The association is also involved in awareness campaigns aimed at teaching children and adults as well about animal rights.