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Study on stray dogs

Tuesday, June 14 2011

THE EDITOR: My name is Miguella Mark-Carew, a PhD candidate Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine and US Student Fulbright grantee for the 2010-2011 academic year. I have been living in Trinidad since September conducting research on intestinal parasites in dairy cattle and dogs in the country (on both islands).

My participation in a Stray Dog Management Workshop sponsored by the TTSPCA back in September prompted me to begin a study on dog ownership and issues concerning roaming dogs in the country.

In addition to identifying diseases, I have done additional research with regard to dogs. A counting study was done in January of this year in Waterloo, Trinidad, a known dumping ground for unwanted dogs and puppies. Using guidelines from the World Society for the Protection of Animals, the results of the study were surprising. 96 (potential) roaming dogs were counted in less than 1 sq km area of Waterloo .

A major project that I have been working on seeks to gain insight on the perspectives of Trinidadians regarding dog ownership and issues concerning roaming dogs (eg. decreased sanitation, animal welfare and cruelty, dead dogs on the roads). The study is questionnaire-based in which participants provide information about their opinions as well as information about each of their owned dogs in a separate questionnaire. I believe this study may be the first of its kind in Trinidad and Tobago in that information about breeds of dogs, veterinary care, microchipping, ability of dogs to leave owner’s yards, and other information will be analysed.

Given the recent events concerning dogs in the news (dog maulings and criticism about the San Fernando pound), I hope that my research can be a first step towards change for the better. I believe that the Dogs Act of 1918 no longer addresses the concerns of Trinidad citizens and must be either abolished or amended. For example, dogs are defined as either “stray” or “ownerless” in the Act. From my interviews with Trinidadians who allow their dogs to roam the streets, I do not think that the majority of them would define the canines as either of those labels.

With less than a 40 days left in Trinidad for my Fulbright, I would like to get the word out about my questionnaire project.

I ask that I be contacted either via email (mpm26@cornell.edu) or at either of the following numbers: 676-3416 (home) or 338-1801 (mobile).



Miguella

P Mark-Carew

US Student Fulbright 2010-2011

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