Holland Now Has No Street Dogs, Becomes The First Country To Achieve It

Homelessness is a huge problem for animals all over the world. There’s no way to exactly count how many stray dogs there are But the World Health Organization estimates that about 200 million around the globe do not have a home.

What’s more, there’s no real easy solution to this problem. As stray dogs continue to have babies, the world is simply unequipped to handle the sheer influx of them. Sadly, that means having a home and a family isn’t going to happen for the vast majority of pups.

Since the 19th century, Holland has had a huge dog population. Almost every family in the country had a dog as a pet because people viewed it as a symbol of social status. But a large number of dogs that lived there sparked an outbreak of rabies which soon became one of the leading causes of death. Out of fear, many owners began abandoning their pets, and since this action was considered legal, streets became filled with stray dogs of all kinds.

Holland wanted to change those unfortunate circumstances. They started to do this by organizing days in which sterilization and castration were mandatory. All were free of charge; the government covered all the expenses. With that, they were able to sterilize 70 percent of female dogs. Every dog also had medical examinations to verify which vaccines and medical services it needed.

To take more control and end the issue once and for all, the government passed a law that protected animals and approved another law related to animal health and welfare. The new legislation encouraged owners to provide pets with adequate treatment and to eliminate abuse. Unless owners followed them, they could be punished with up to three years in prison and a fine higher than $16,000.

People who choose to have a dog at home usually decide to adopt or buy breeding dogs because they consider them to be more healthy and beautiful. That’s why the Dutch government resolved to raise taxes on the purchase of dogs in stores. Consequently, that added expense forced dog owners to start considering other ways to get pets and increased the chance of stray dog adoption.

The state also started to run another campaign to raise awareness. This time people had the chance to take care of homeless puppies. People fell in love with them and more than a million stray dogs managed to find a family and a safe place to live. The operation had a massive impact on citizens and led 90 percent of the population to adopt a dog as a pet.

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