City of Francistown has expressed concern about stray dogs in the central business district (CBD); with the country’s second largest city’s spokesperson Joseph Wasubera confirming that a noticeable increase has been recorded.
Packs of dogs can be seen in almost all residential areas and the CBD in Francistown scavenging for food. Though no cases of rabies in dogs have been recorded in the country’s second largest city, residents have argued the situation does not mean that the disease is not in existence.
The concern is that rabies could soon spread to humans in the absence of control measures, as situation stands, residents told The Patriot on Sunday. And residents here are calling the city council to introduce a shoot-to-kill policy on stray dogs.
“It is a growing concern,” explained Wasubera when contacted for a comment. He said the municipality has realized that stray dogs are becoming an eyesore especially in the CBD and dog owners have been constantly advised to ensure that their pets remain secure.
Wasubera said dog owners are also reminded that it is their responsibility to ensure that dogs are confined within their properties at all times.
“Unlike other cities regionally and internationally, the City of Francistown do not have any byelaw which stipulates that stray dogs should be shoot and killed,” explained Wasubera in an interview with this publication.
“With dogs, it is difficult to have a quarantine area because the expenses incurred will be borne by the council,” he explained.
Wasubera is of the belief that the problem of stray dogs can be solved once and for all “if councilors could pass such a motion on shoot-to-kill policy to be introduced as part of the laws that need to be respected.”
Without the shoot-to-kill policy, Wasubera advised residents to always ensure that their dogs remain secure within their properties not roaming the streets.
Thandolwenkosi Moswela lamented that some of the dogs are so vicious and stubborn. Moswela said he tries all the time to chase the dogs away but they instead attack him.
“I had to run for my dear life and sought refuge in a Chinese shop when I tried to chase away stray dogs which were emptying bins within the CBD,” he said. For Mercy Loaro, stray dogs are messing up her lawn.
Maureen Ncube of the low-income location of Block I said children are at a greater risk of contracting rabies after being bitten by the stray dogs. Ncube said there are a lot of stray dogs roaming the streets in Block I.
“We do not have money to take our children to crèche. And most of our children spend the day playing while we are at work. Our children are at risk,” she said.
Efforts to get a comment Botswana Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BSPCA) drew a blank as their numbers were not going through at press time.