A local Government survey estimates 4000 stray dogs in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt. Anyone who has visited Sharm will have seen them. Known locally as ‘Baladi’ dogs, they are a friendly, loyal breed. However, the population, as in all Egyptian cities, has grown too large. Every so often this happens, and the overpopulation has always been dealt with by mass poisoning or shooting dogs in the street. Recently, Alexandria has been criticised by animal rights activists worldwide for shooting stray dogs and leaving them in the street.
Sharm, however, has decided to try a different approach. Not a new idea by European standards, but Sharm’s General Manager of the City Council, Ad. Mahmoud El Fouly, is an animal lover, and cannot stand the thought of killing innocent animals. He agreed to meet with Sharm Action For Animals (SAFA), a small local charity who have been trying since 2011 to TNR as many stray cats and dogs as their donations will allow. Although they have made a significant difference, they have never been able to control the ever growing populations. Mr El Fouly was open to the idea of trying TNR. He has agreed to support SAFA by helping with the Trap and Return aspect of TNR, with SAFA carrying out the neutering.
SAFA already have a rescue centre in Sharm, with clinic facilities, and their resident vet, Dr Aly Nached will be the lead veterinary surgeon carrying out the neutering of dogs for this project. He will also use the opportunity to give intern vets the chance to assist in the operations, as they are rarely given the chance to have practical experience on small animals in their training. This will serve as a great educational opportunity for them.
Poisoning is Mr El Fouly’s only other alternative to clean up the streets of stray animals. He is very reluctant to have to resort to this, and so needs this project to be a success. He has promised that, if we manage to make a difference through TNR, he will strictly enforce rules to punish anyone found to be putting poison down with up to 10,000 EGP fines.
The project is due to start on 11th January, 2016. Final planning is currently being carried out, but SAFA need to raise money from donations in order to pay for the medicines and equipment for the operations. This includes anaesthesia, sutures and antibiotics. They are asking anyone to donate at www.sharmactionforanimals.com/donate to help support this project and to prove to Egypt that TNR can be effective.