Are shelters the answer to the street dog overpopulation crisis?

You might have wondered why rehoming isn’t the focus of our mission…


Imagine this: You’ve come home from two weeks away to find that your kitchen tap has been running into your sink with the plug in. The whole of your ground floor is flooded. What do you do?

We’re pretty sure that you wouldn’t grab a bucket and start to bail out the water, or build a tank in your garden to store the overflow. You’d go to the sink, turn off the tap and pull the plug out. And we think it’s exactly the same with street dog management.


You cannot adopt your way out of overpopulation


There are hundreds of thousands of dogs in Sri Lanka, but nowhere near enough good homes for them. Whereas in the UK or America, a dog might be taken to a shelter or pound and risk euthanisation after a legal holding period, in Asian countries like Sri Lanka, excess dogs tend to be left at the roadside.

In the UK, it is estimated that over 1,300 dogs were put to sleep between 2018 and 2019 (Dogs Trust Stray Dogs Survey Report 2018-19). These figures don’t include the thousands of dogs discarded from the Greyhound racing industry or puppy farms each year, unwanted “pandemic puppies” or dogs that are now illegal under breed specific legislation .Even in the UK, rehoming strategies don’t always work.


Stopping the problem before it starts


In Sri Lanka, like the UK, it’s impossible to find a home for every dog, no matter how much love we give them. So instead, like a leaking tap, the problem just keeps growing, with more dogs on the streets every day. The only way to stop the flow? An award winning mobile spay/neuter service – the largest of its kind here in Sri Lanka.

By sterilising dogs, we give them a life free of unwanted pregnancies and pups. We stem the crisis and can instead focus on giving the dogs that are on the streets the veterinary care they need. Vaccines, skin treatments and food – these all make a significant difference to the lives of existing street dogs.

Thanks to you, we’re currently at 65,000 sterilisations and counting. Happy, healthy, and not contributing towards the overpopulation crisis – that’s the aim for every animal in the care of Dogstar Foundation. Because no animal should be born to die.