Dear Sir or Madam,
I am writing this letter to present my opinion to the officials that I believe Yangon should be a safer city for everyone, and that stray dogs are becoming a serious threat. As you already know, Yangon has always been abundant of stray dogs and according to statistics, the population of strays in the city is estimated about 120,000. Correspondingly, such a huge number of dogs will undoubtedly always contain some aggressive mutts which attack, possibly transmit the perilous rabies, or even end up killing. But I was taken aback when I discovered that your organisation has been behind the merciless culling of the puppies. It is obvious that these mutts are belligerent towards us and it is unsafe for them to be around young children but I don’t think killing them is the right thing to do. Therefore the following paragraphs will include my opinions on the solutions in the article.
One straightforward method to solve the problem of stray dogs is the ‘traditional method’ used in Yangon which is ‘laying out poisoned meat’. To be honest, I empathise with San That Myint and would also act the same to the creatures that almost ended the life of my child. Plus, Dr. Hla May Oo claimed that ‘stray dogs are difficult to catch’ but in reality, killing the puppies doesn’t attract public participation. On the contrary, killing is morally wrong – ‘this is a sin’. As citizens living in a customarily religious country, should we be helping man’s best friend instead of slaughtering them? Firstly, I have no doubt that they literally have no one to help look after them – no shelter, no security, no food – so I would like you to consider their situation and come up with a more humane solution. Second, I have witnessed these homeless dogs actually help us in our everyday lives. Especially in Myanmar, people usually adopt the strays near their house or work and the dogs show their gratitude by guarding the owner’s place. This bond is extremely common in Yangon and I hold the opinion that we shouldn’t destroy the close relationship. Furthermore, in my eyes, these dogs aren’t always violent because most strays usually let us pet them even if it’s our fist encounter. Therefore, this argument does not hold much water.
In spite the fact that culling is the ‘traditional way’ of dealing with the hounds, an alternative argument suggests that sterilisation should be used. It goes without saying that the ‘spay-neuter-release strategy’- suggested by Rahul Sehgal – is a more humane and less cruel method. However, it seems to me that our government cannot afford to carry out this procedure since Myanmar is still a developing country and is struggling with even greater problems compared to this issue thus this strategy may not be possible in a large scale. Also, my conviction is that this could not be very beneficial for the dogs because after they’ve had operations, they’re going to have to live in ‘the exact place they were caught’ – on the streets – which is remarkably unhygienic so there is a possibility of infections. Additionally, there was an agreement with ‘the global nonprofit HSI’ about replacing ‘culling with a spay and neuter programme’ in the past but as stated by Ye Naung Thein, nothing has been heard about it yet so this is not a successful solution. Therefore I am of the opinion that the ‘spay-neuter-release strategy’ may be effective in other developed countries but certainly not in Myanmar because of our financial situation.
Despite the fact that I have not agreed with the solutions suggested in the article, it is my impression that you should be investing to establish more organisations that will help take care of the strays such as the ‘Yangon Animal Shelter’. The shelters should carry out anti-rabies vaccinations for the dogs because ‘Myanmar has the second-highest incidence of any country in south-east Asia with about 1,000 deaths per year’ and if the whole dog population was infected by it, I dare say that Yangon will be a city full of rabies. We should also be encouraging citizens to be more involved in adopting these puppies, and, perhaps, the wealthy could afford a spay and neuter option for them. So I think containing the strays in shelters will ensure that there won’t be as much hounds on the streets as before which reduces the risk of being attacked by a stray dog and thus creates a safer city.
In conclusion, I believe that investing in setting up more animal shelters is the solution. This is because the strays will be contained somewhere, which decreases the number of dogs on the streets. Although it can be argued that ‘the traditional method’ maybe effective on a large scale, culling is undoubtedly against any religion and animal rights. I personally disagree because this is barbaric! It sickens me to see dead dogs on the street. Frankly, I am extremely disgusted of the cold-blooded people who are making puppies suffer from poison and let them die painfully on the street, and yet they claim to be citizens of a primarily Buddhist country. Similarly, I disagree with the spay and neuter programme since we cannot afford for it in large scale. Therefore I have come to the conclusion that funding for making more animal shelters is the solution. But whatever the answer is, we need to respect life, and ‘the war between dog lovers and haters’ must end soon so that citizens of Yangon should be able to confidently walk around the city without worrying about the threats of stray dogs, in the future.
Yours Sincerely,
A concerned citizen