The Colombo Mayor today denied allegations that stray dogs including all those in and around the Vihara Maha Devi Park in Colombo are being rounded up by the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) and will be put down.
A demonstration was staged outside the residence of Colombo Mayor Rosy Senanayake today (Saturday) accusing her of ordering the dogs to be rounded up.
However, in a statement the Office of the Mayor of Colombo said that the allegations are false.
“Let us explain what the actual situation is. During the curfew time, due to the non availability of food, many stray dogs were congregating around the Vihara Maha Devi Park and were being fed by the CMC, the Mayor herself and other socially minded people. Due to the lack of food during those times there was a large congregation of dogs at the park in addition to the dogs which were resident around that area from before. There have been mounting complaints to the park administration from park users, the general public and from the park workers themselves that some of these dogs are aggressive and have chased after both walkers, cyclists and even children. Also 8 ducks who were resident in the park have also been attacked and killed by dogs in the last month,” the Office of the Mayor of Colombo said.
Due to this the Veterinary department took measures to identify the more aggressive dogs resident at the park and relocate them temporarily until a more permanent solution can be found, the Office of the Mayor of Colombo claimed.
“As a matter of information 2 dogs were removed yesterday, as they were identified as being aggressive. All other dogs remain in the area. Therefore the stories floating around that all dogs from Vihara Maha Devi Park have been removed, to be eventually put down is false and that orders have gone out to remove all street dogs is also false. Anyone who \ cares to visit the park today or even did so yesterday would have observed that there still \ are dogs in and around the park,” the Office of the Mayor of Colombo said.
The Office of the Mayor of Colombo further said that there are presently 8 dogs, in addition to the 2 dogs brought in yesterday, at the CMC facilities, of which 3 are for sterilization, 4 for observation as they have bitten people on the street and 1 extremely aggressive dog which cannot be released due its nature.
“Also the CMC has not put down any stray dogs in the last few years and will not be doing so in the future. This is a fact well known by all animal welfare groups. What we hope to do is develop our halfway house facilities which will be a holding place for stray dogs until foster homes can be found for them. We have invited animal welfare activists to discuss steps we like to take in this regard and also obtain their valuable input and assitance to better manage these facilities,” the Office of the Mayor of Colombo said.
The statement further said that the Mayor personally visited the facility today (Saturday) at 1.00pm and further to this visit the two dogs in question will be inoculated and she has ordered that they be released at the park until a long term sustainable solution can be found to the issue of stray dogs in consultation with all stakeholders. (Colombo Gazette)