Concern is mounting in the Maghreb following stray dog ​​attacks

UA schoolgirl dies after a street dog attack in Tunisia, a child killed by a herd in Algeria … The proliferation of street dogs worries the Maghreb, but the systematic killing, the main solution adopted in front of this phenomenon is denounced by animals. lawyers.

The Gabès prosecutor’s office in southeastern Tunisia on Friday opened an investigation into the death of a 16-year-old girl who was assaulted by dogs while attending school.

Residents of this agricultural region had recently complained about a sharp increase in the number of stray dogs that also feed on livestock.

In Algeria, in early March, it was little Salah Eddine, 12, who was “eaten by dogs” in Blida, near Algiers, according to his uncle, who said that “only the bones of the part lower body.

In this country, “the only method used by municipal services to fight stray animals is capture and killing,” Dr. Abdelmoumen Boumaza, a veterinarian, told AFP. But, he regrets, they only act “in case of emergency, when there are cases of rabies.”

For its part, Tunisia says it has taken action: the Ministry of Agriculture has made available a free rabies vaccination service and has set a goal of rapidly vaccinating between 70 and 80% of Tunisian dogs.

Frequent dropouts

There is an emergency: five people, bitten by stray dogs, died of rabies in the country in 2021 and, at the level of Greater Tunis (2 million inhabitants, ed.), The positivity of the lost carnivores is 55 % “, according to the ministry.

Why so much proliferation? In recent years, Tunisians have resorted to dogs instead of expensive alarm systems to protect their property, Nowel Lakech, president of the Tunisian Association for the Protection of Animals (PAT), told AFP. .

But abandonment is common, especially when females have offspring. Thus, it is not uncommon for a pedestrian to come face to face with a pack of dogs in the capital.

The PAT would like “a law that requires owners to mark their dogs so that they can no longer be thrown into the street with impunity” and that each municipality be provided with a street dog management center.

There are six for the whole of Tunisia: “We have won a battle but not yet the war,” she said.

And many town halls “continue to slaughter, including those with a vaccination and sterilization center,” he laments.

In recent months, bloody campaigns, especially on the tourist island of Djerba, have sparked protests by animal rights activists on social media.

long agony

“After being shot, dogs can agonize for hours. We leave them without worrying about whether they are dead or injured,” Ms Lakech protests.

At the Bouhanach refuge in Ariana, near Tunis, dozens of dogs are housed by the PAT, who are trying to find them a home.

Built five years ago thanks to private donations, the shelter occupies an area of ​​2,600 square meters.

The center has already hosted about 500 residents. Sometimes, due to a lack of a local adoptive family, the PAT sends the dogs abroad with “flight sponsors” during their transport.

A veterinarian at the Tunis Sterilization-Vaccination Center, Dr. Mahmoud Latiri has vaccinated more than 2,500 animals in two years, mostly dogs, and performed numerous sterilizations.

“Without mass sterilization, the streets will be packed with stray dogs,” warns Dr. Mahmoud.

Two days a week, a team from the center roams the streets of the capital in search of stray dogs to vaccinate and neuter them.

Also in Morocco, the state signed an agreement in 2019 with partners “to neuter, vaccinate and identify stray dogs.”

Despite this, many “town halls are organizing the killing of dogs on the street or in the pound in horrible conditions,” Zainab Taqane, president of the IRHAM (“have mercy”) association, told AFP indignantly.

In Libya, unlike its neighbors, the phenomenon of stray dogs “is under control,” says Marwan El-Bouri, a veterinarian in Tripoli, who sees few hanging on the streets.

Perhaps because with the proliferation of weapons, some do not hesitate to fire them.

07/04/2022 12:26:59 – Ariana (Tunisia) (AFP) – © 2022 AFP

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