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Sri Lankan President re-affirms no-kill policy!

TNR program to continue

By Sharon St. Joan, Best Friends Network

The July 11 issue of the Daily News, Sri Lanka's national newspaper, is reporting that Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has directed that the no-kill policy of dog control is to be continued.

Last year the president introduced the no-kill policy to mark the 2550th year of a Buddhist Celebration. The policy requires spay/neuter and rabies vaccinations.

The Tsunami, at the end of 2004, which caused massive devastation to Sri Lanka, left many thousands of homeless, stray dogs. Out of this desperate situation grew the organization that was to become The Tsunami Animal-People Alliance.

The initial coalition of animal groups rose to the challenge of organizing what had threatened to develop into an out-of-control situation, with tens of thousands of dogs running wild, into a controlled situation, in which animals were spayed, neutered, vaccinated, and provided with red collars as a sign that they posed no danger to the public. This calmed people's fears and made it possible to adhere to the no-kill TNR policy.

However, just recently, some local authorities in Sri Lanka, have been making plans to resume dog killing as a means of animal control. This apparently came to the attention of President Rajapaksa and led to his directive to stay with the no-kill policy. He has also announced that there should be no licence fees imposed in poor rural areas, and that unlicenced dogs should not, under any circumstances, be euthanized.

The no-kill policy did not continue for long after the tsunami emergency passed, but the killing of dogs was halted again last year in honor of the Buddhist Celebration. In years past, dogs were commonly killed as a form of animal control, in accordance with the Rabies Ordinance introduced by the British over 100 years ago.

Now, in re-affirming the no-kill policy, President Rajapaksa has taken a firm step towards ensuring that Sri Lankan dogs may continue to be treated with compassion.

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