The only administrative district in Taiwan which fully conducted the dog sterilization project.
From August 2016 to October 2016, the Faith for Animals conducted dog population survey in Keelung. They divided Keelung into 25 regions. Based on the methodology of “sampling survey”, they sampled 8 of these regions to conduct the survey. It took 8 people for two months to perform the survey according to the planned routes. They estimated 2,457 roaming dogs under 95% confidence level, which is around 1700-3100 roaming dogs.
From July 2017 to October 2017, we conducted the door-to-door outreach in the whole Keelung city. In addition to the downtown area with high building density, we also had door-to-door visit on all streets. Furthermore, including the self-reports on the internet, the survey conducted by volunteers, and the information collected from the animal disease control center, we have an overall understanding of the roaming dogs in Keelung. We discovered 1,618 owned roaming dogs (including both outdoor kenneling and tethering) in 740 homes and 965 unowned dogs in 174 groups. In total, there are 2,583 dogs in Keelung.
If we plotted the places of the residence of these dogs on the map, we can find that these points densely covered all administrative districts. This shows that our outreach covers every corner of Keelung. We have identified most dogs in Keelung. This figure is the “answer” to the current status of dogs in Keelung. The number of dogs estimated in 2016 was 2,457, which is very close to the current number, 2,583 dogs.
With the joint efforts of the local volunteers, the animal disease control center in Keelung, and the Faith for Animals, the sterilization ratio of the female roaming dogs reached 85.99% by the end of 2017. The effect of the sterilization project reflects on the number of incoming dogs at the animal disease control center in Keelung. The following figure shows that, from 2015 to 2017, the number of dogs, especially young dogs, that were caught and sent to the Pet Bank (i.e. the Keelung animal shelter) reduced year over year.
Faith for Animals started collaboration with the Animal Protection and Health Inspection Office in Keelung since 2016. After Director Chen took office, he has taken several effective management policies including not issuing new Pet Breeding license, massively sterilizing roaming animals in Keelung, and implementing accurate trap. When the Faith for Animals met owners who were not willing to cooperate during the door-to-door outreach, the Animal Protection and Health Inspection Office also actively sent their officers to persuade the pet owners with the Faith for Animals so that every case had a good ending. Under the public-private partnership, each party made their best efforts in their own sector to resolve problems and effectively push the progress of the sterilization project forward. Even though the size of Keelung city is small, it is the first city in Taiwan which reaches high percentage of female dog sterilization through intensive public-private partnership. We hope the practice in Keelung can impact other cities to deal with the issue of stray animals more completely and thoroughly.
“Public-private partnership is the key to implement policy”
The first issue to carry out a task in the power plant was that no external people can get in and out the plant. We communicated several times but still cannot get in because the manager don’t want us to return the dogs back. Therefore, we cannot do anything but contact the Animal Protection and Health Inspection Office for help. The director quickly issued an official document to the power plant. This document opened the tightly locked door so we can get in to set up.
If there is no dog feeder who can work with us, our own frontline people would go to the target area to feed the dogs at the fixed times. This makes the dogs to be sterilised less wary of us and we can also track the dogs better. After getting the permission, our members go to the power plant everyday and know all the guards there… Because of the perfect setup, we quickly sterilised all female dogs in that area!
In addition to not being able to touch their own dogs, many owners of owned roaming dogs don’t know the number of male and female dogs they have. We found three unsterilised female dogs and a male dog at the other side of the grass. They are tethered at the place without clean water and shelter for a long time. Afterwards, we also found five newly born puppies under the wooden board of the kennel where we saw the breast-swelling female dog. These are clear evidence of the unsterilised dogs and breeding without permission. Therefore, the Animal Protection and Health Inspection Office actively intervene this case. Faith for Animals can then successfully take all female dogs to sterilization and close the case.
The animal welfare policy is hard to reach the rural areas because they have scarce resources and the incomplete concepts of owning dogs compared to the urban areas. We need to understand each case and help the owners to carry out their responsibilities to achieve win-win situations.