Free-roaming dog population issue to be addressed

The NCDC and the RSPCA of PNG are working in partnership to address the ever-growing stray and free-roaming dog population in Port Moresby.

This will be achieved through a comprehensive dog population management plan involving dog collections, promotion of responsible pet ownership and de-sexing.

For years, the RSPCA of PNG has conducted a rehoming and adoptions program aimed at finding homes for stray, abandoned and unwanted animals in Port Moresby that are taken into the RSPCA as part of the NCDC-RSPCA dog collection programs. According to Johnny Kasom, the Operations Manager of RSPCA PNG, the NCDC Dog Pound has been managed by RSPCA PNG for over 10 years.

Last year alone, the RSPCA took in nearly 1,000 stray and unwanted animals off the streets of Port Moresby, but the impact of stray dog collection on stray dog populations has had little impact on the overall size of the free-roaming dog population and the number of unwanted animals continues to exceed the number of homes willing to take them in. This year, the RSPCA of PNG has decided to redirect its focus at the root causes of pet overpopulation by addressing issues of irresponsible pet ownership and conducting a large-scale de-sexing program in Port Moresby.

Through awareness, education and outreach projects, the RSPCA of PNG hopes to reach out to communities throughout Port Moresby to promote responsible pet ownership.

Kasom said: “The RSPCA PNG could not do this alone and needed the support of NCDC in enforcing existing legislation to improve owner compliance with current legislation.”

Kasom further added that the partnership and campaign to de-sex cats and dogs is a great initiative headed by the Practice Manager of RSPCA PNG, Dr Jessica Hoopes.

As part of the collaboration between RSPCA PNG and NCDC, the RSPCA PNG invited RSPCA Queensland’s Chief Inspector Daniel Young to help train and provide advice in regards to operational matters. Accompanying Chief Inspector Young was George Costi RSPCA Queensland Head of Operations & Facilities.

Costi said he was pleased with what he saw in terms of the collaboration efforts from the NCDC and RSPCA PNG and its staff in stray animal collection and by doing it professionally.

Chief Inspector Young said he was pleased to see the professionalism and dedication from the RSPCA team in Port Moresby and the working relationship RSPCA PNG has with the NCDC in terms of collecting stray dogs and cats professionally putting animal welfare as priority.

“This will be my third visit to PNG and I am thrilled to see new processes introduced and the skills of RSPCA staff continuing to progress. My main message was to keep growing and continue to lead the way in animal welfare here in PNG. I want to encourage the RSPCA PNG team and NCDC not to get distracted by the challenges and continue to strive to make a real difference to the animals of PNG,” Young said.

“It is good to see the NCDC Health authority working closely with RSPCA PNG as it provides a balance in its operations and letting RSPCA PNG to lead the collections so stray animals are collected with much care to prevent animal cruelty.”

Inspector Young continued to outline that some of the initiatives coming out of RSPCA PNG are amazing and needed support of the community, local and national governments to make these initiatives a realty.

“It is no secret that good animal welfare outcomes translate into positive outcomes for people, so that should be incentive for everyone to get behind such a great organization,” said inspector Young.

“RSPCA is the world’s oldest and biggest animal welfare charity, so whether it’s at home in Australia or here in PNG, we are well placed to provide advice and guidance in the area of animal welfare. RSPCA QLD is one of the lead organisations when it comes to best practice around animal welfare and we want to use our expertise to help our colleagues here in Port Moresby lead the way for animals of PNG.”

RSPCA QLD will be working closely with the RSPCA PNG in several key areas including implementation of standard operating procedures, training with respect to animal handling, marketing and awareness campaigns and facility design.

“Over the years we have learnt some valuable lessons as we have grown and hopefully as a result we can help RSPCA PNG and NCDC mitigate some of those mistakes, as they navigate the years to come in the field of animal welfare.”

Inspector Young expressed that the experience and knowledge that already exists here at the Port Moresby shelter was impressive. He further emphasised that financial and community support is what is needed to take things to the next level.

He encourages anyone that can assist RSPCA to make the effort.

“The community needs to understand that the RSPCA are here to help animals and their owners. I would hope that over time people will see the positive impact the RSPCA is making on their community and thank RSPCA staff. Next time you see RSPCA driving the streets helping sick and injured animals remember they are doing it for you and your animals, there is no other reason other than to help! They work in a tough environment with many challenges and often it is a thankless task, so please get behind them.”

(From Left: George Costi, Head of Operations & Facilities – RSPCA Queensland, Isowa More, Chief Inspector Survey – NCDC, Daniel Young, Chief Inspector Operations – RSPCA Queensland, Wesley Sinduai, Health Inspector – NCDC and Johnny Kasom, Operations Manager – RSPCA PNG)

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Press release