Baghdad To Kill 1 Million Stray Dogs

Officials in Baghdad began poisoning & shooting stray dogs on a large scale in April when they finally received funding to do something about the estimated 1.25-1.5 million stray dogs in Baghdad.  In three months, the culling teams, made up of vets and police shooters, have killed about 58,000 dogs with plans to kill 1 million total.  Residents are warned not to pick up the poisoned meat they’re putting out to kill the dogs.  In addition to the danger of accidental human poisoning, there is the risk of poisoning “endangered species such as the Cinereous Vulture of which only 14-20,000 remain.”

Before you condemn Baghdad officials for this horrific slaughter, let me put this into terms to which you can better relate.  Depending on the figure you use for the area of Baghdad (78.8 – 283.4 sq. miles) and using the lower estimate of strays (1.25 million), that breaks down to 12-39 stray dogs per city block.  Can you even imagine what it would be like to live with anything close to that number of feral dogs—hungry, with parasites, and possibly diseased—running loose around your home?  This is a public health issue.

Consider also that there aren’t any animal shelters in Baghdad and even before the war, culling is how officials dealt with stray dogs.  Another complicating factor is that basic municipal services like garbage collection have not been restored since the war started in 2003 and trash in the streets is providing a ready food source for the stray dogs, which leads to more dogs surviving and to bigger litters.  Some Baghdad streets have actually been blocked off by giant garbage piles.

A lot has to change, because clearly culling alone won’t fix anything.  Besides restoring Baghdad to a functioning city, there have to be funds dedicated to animal welfare.  It’s also critical that there be a campaign to change Iraqi views on spaying & neutering.  From what I understand, it’s considered cruel and unnatural to spay & neuter dogs, even by veterinarians.

4 Replies to “Baghdad To Kill 1 Million Stray Dogs”

  1. It’s considered cruel and unnatural to spay and neuter, but it’s okay to kill them???!!! How is poisoning and shooting a better alternative?

  2. what insane people that would rather murder animals then get them fixed. that is islam in a nutshell murder rather then fix.

  3. This isn’t “islam in a nutshell”.

    The population boom in stray dogs is not due to people not spaying/neutering their dogs. These dogs don’t belong to anyone.

    Poisoning & shooting strays isn’t an “alternative” to spaying/neutering. It is the only thing they are able to do at this point to control the stray dog population. We’re talking 12-39 stray dogs for every block.

    This has become a public health issue.

  4. @connie, do you have any idea how absolutely impractical it is to neuter over a million animals in a place that is a barely functioning war zone? And even if you could somehow find the resources to accomplish this task, at an unthinkable cost, you would still have over a million feral, dangerous, hungry, or sick dogs.

    There are major threats to HUMAN life there. You can’t apply a western ideal to a place like Baghdad.

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