On this campus, and in this country as a whole, there are many stray animals.
We have a number of stray dogs on campus as food is often left around. In general these are affectionate and harmless animals, though there have been reports in the past of aggressive strays (I can’t say I’ve heard from anyone who has experienced this though). Even though there is a stigma against stray animals many students enjoy having the dogs on campus as fleeting companions and even give them names.
Yet one night as I was returning to my room I was confronted by an essentially anti-stray display. There were surveys lying on the table, the question being asked was ‘What do we do with the strays?’ the options given were: mass euthanasia, chasing them into the surrounding rain-forest and mass sterilisation. As you can see there’s no real humane position and the ideas this survey brings up are impractical and would have no lasting effects, as new dogs would come to inhabit the campus. It has also been noted that the costs of these procedures would far outweigh the benefits. The people responsible had not thoroughly thought through the reaction that this callous monument would spark in passers-by. I’ve even been told by one student that they thought it was a stunt by the UNMC Psychology Department to gauge the response for research purposes!
In relation to the stray campaign itself, efforts are being poorly focussed. Attacking the strays directly is illogical and a fruitless long-term solution. Instead energy should be placed in a crack-down on food being left out and encouraging students to keep their dustbins inside their rooms at night. By removing the reasons the dogs have for being here we will remove the issue of the dogs themselves. Indeed, that is if homeless canines can be considered a real ‘issue’ in relation to other welfare concerns at this university.