NATION

Public Concerned For Their Safety From Stray Dogs

“People have contacted and complained to the authorities including the Nadi Town Council, Ministry of Agriculture and the Fiji Police Force.
20 Jun 2019 10:00
Public Concerned For Their Safety From Stray Dogs
A pack of stray dogs gather on Rewa Street on June 18, 2019. Photo: Sydnee Gonzalez

People walking on a road at Martintar in Nadi reportedly arm themselves with sticks and stones to protect them from dogs.

This is due to the fact that pedestrians are concerned about their safety, according to a Martintar resident, Vinita Rao.

In an email sent to the Fiji Sun, Ms Rao says pedestrians of Goundar Road in Martintar have been experiencing problems with dogs for more than one year.

“These are dogs owned by the residents of the street,” she said.

“People have contacted and complained to the authorities including the Nadi Town Council, Ministry of Agriculture and the Fiji Police Force.

“However, to date nothing much has been done except for dog trappings upon their visits.

“At one instance it was even confirmed by the Ministry of Agriculture that there is nothing more they can do except for trappings which has not been effective because during trappings the dogs are either called in and gates closed by the owners or they are able to avoid being caught altogether.

“The dogs which do fall into the trap are the ones which usually do not attack,” said

Ms Rao urged the Government to assist the residents of the area in dealing with the dog problem.

Her complaint was among the numerous Fiji Sun received from various parts of the country when this edition went to press last night.

The issue was highlighted by this newspaper after a pack of about eight stray dogs attacked and bit Amari Whippy, 2, at Narewa in Nadi last Friday.

Amari was admitted in Lautoka Hospital with serious wounds and also had surgeries.

On that same day, a kindergarten student was attacked and bitten by some stray dogs in the school compound in Suva.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama had also expressed concern on the attack on Amari and said that no person should suffer through such a terrifying ordeal.

“Make no mistake, serious steps are already being taken to ensure that no Fijian will be subjected to the mental and physical scars of such an event again,” he had said in his Facebook post.

The Ministry of Agriculture, with key stakeholders, has started an intensive stray dog campaign in major towns and cities, which will be held over eight weeks.

It started on Monday in Nadi and at Tacirua, outside Suva City.

From June 17 to June 21, there will dog trapping in Nadi Town and Tacirua, Suva, and the distribution of awareness material.

There will be a dog trapping exercise with the Suva City Council and Nadi Town Council from June 24 to 28, and awareness and licensing with the two councils.

The dog trapping exercise will continue in other towns and cities from July 1 to August 9. A special de-sexing programme has also been organised in selected areas by the Agriculture Ministry with Charles Sturt University in Week 4.

In a paid advertisement yesterday, Permanent Secretary for Agriculture, David Kolitagane advised the public to support the ministry’s work in trying to control dogs, not to tamper with dog traps and not to release trapped dogs.

People have been encouraged to contact their nearest Agriculture Ministry office for any assistance in the control of stray dogs in their respective areas.

Edited by Susana Tuilau

Feedback: avinesh.gopal@fijisun.com.fj

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