From having streets riddled with strays to having streets completely free of them, Holland sure has come a long way in the past few years. But how in the world have they achieved it?
By, 13 Jun 2019
In the 19th century, a rabies epidemic broke out in Holland. As a result, people started to abandon their dogs in fear that they might carry the disease. This mass abandonment kick-started the country’s high number of street dogs. With thousands of dogs roaming the streets, the Dutch government knew they had to take matters into their own hands. And they didn’t hold back.
Free spay and neuter
The first thing the country did was make sterilisation and castration MANDATORY. This can now be done for FREE in Holland. On specific days, it’s also possible to take your dog in for a free health-check and necessary vaccinations. With these free procedures, the government was able to sterilize about 70% of their female dog population in very little time, hence halting reproduction in the stray dog population.
Strong animal welfare laws
The second initiative put in place by the government was to implement stronger laws concerning animal welfare. Similar to the UK’s Animal Welfare Act, any act of cruelty or neglect towards an animal is now punishable by 3 years in prison and by a fine of at least £12,000 in Holland.
To help enforce this, Holland also created a special division of police officers to combat animal cruelty and abandonment (kind of like animal cops)!
Adopt, don’t shop!
The government also wanted to encourage people to adopt dogs at shelters. Therefore, purebred dogs became taxed. The added expense made people think twice before they bought a purebred puppy from a store. In consequence, more strays were being adopted from shelters.
These efforts have made Holland stray dog free, showing how little changes can make such a huge difference. It truly is an exemplar country that other European nations need to follow!