Birth and Rabies Control
ABC (Animal Birth Control) Sterilization and Anti-rabies Program
The ABC program objectives are to control population and eliminate rabies in the dog population thereby dramatically reducing rabies deaths in the human population.
Homeless street dogs are captured, sterilized, held six days or more to convalesce, given anti-rabies injections, and returned to their original territories. Sometime in 2009 the population started reducing naturally as the number of deaths exceeded the number of births. We now know there were over 4,000 homeless dogs when we first opened. We believe the number was below 3,500 by March, 2013. With ongoing "maintenance", the population will continue to decrease and stabilize at a much lower level.
We currently do between 60 and 100 sterilizations/anti-rabies injections per month. The total number of sterilizations at the end of May 2013 was 5001 (around 4300 of those were on "homeless" dogs). This should result in a decrease of at least 7,000 puppies born each year, most of whom would have suffered and died on the streets.
The whole process of being caught, incarcerated, and released can be very stressfull for the dogs. We go to great lengths to catch them as gently as possible, and to reassure, stroke them, and lovingly talk to them from the moment they are caught. For the time they're with us convalescing, we give them a lot of love, and reassurance. Almost all of them, by the time they're released, are much more open to humans.
Our ABC dogs have Arnica and Rescue Remedy (both homeopathic substances) included
in their drinking water. One facilitates healing and the other helps overcome the stress of being captured and whisked away to what at first seems a strange and threatening place.
When we first opened we got two or three rabies cases a month. As we gave more and more anti-rabies injections, the number slowly decreased. In the twelve month period ending March, 2013 we have not had any rabies cases. So it appears that the homeless dog population is rabies-free. However people that are bitten, to be safe still have to get the series of five anti-rabies injections, because it's always possible that a dog was bitten by a bat, or rat, or some other creature that had rabies.
When we do get a report of a suspected rabies case we send someone to catch the animal and bring it in for observation. If it does appear to possibly be rabies we immediately send a shelter team into the area to give all nearby animals anti-rabies injections, and to alert the nearby residents and tell those at risk to go for treatment to the Government Hospital.