- Dog ownership became popular in Holland since the 19th century, but a lot of these owners eventually abandoned their pets due to rabies outbreaks.
- Holland solved the problem by implementing a massive sterilization program and introducing laws to protect animal welfare.
- Strays have become non-existent as 90 percent of residents in Holland now has dogs.
There are around 200 million homeless animals around the world, according to an estimate by the World Health Organization. There is no easy solution to this problem and all countries in the world have to deal with handling the stray animals roaming around.
But one country has managed to defeat the problem about stray dogs. Holland is now considered the first nation in the world to whittle down its stray dog population.
Since the 19th century, dog ownership has grown greatly in Holland. It was considered a status symbol to own at least one.
This led to problems as rabies outbreaks became rampant in the country, which led to dog owners abandoning their pets.
Dutch officials became concerned about the welfare of these homeless dogs, as well as the potential health issues that these animals can spread, which can greatly affect humans.
This led to a massive crackdown on the stray dog problem. First, Holland implemented a country-wide sterilization program for animals. Eventually, 70 percent of the stray female dogs were spayed.
Each dog examined for sterilization was also given updated vaccines. This is essential in preventing the spreading of rabies, parvovirus, and other animal-related diseases.
Second, the Dutch government introduced laws to improve animal rights and health. Punishments were made for neglecting and abusing animals and those who are found guilty will pay up to $16,000 in fines and can face up to three years in prison.
Taxes were also raised on store-brought dogs – this encouraged people to adopt from shelters rather than buy pets.
Marianne Thieme, leader of the Party for the Animals, said that “Animals — and our entire society — need the animal police. There is a direct link between violence against animals and violence against humans.”
Now, around 90 percent of residents in Holland own a dog, as they have taken the strays off the streets and into loving homes.
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