The Municipal Affairs Bureau (IAM) has rejected as “unfeasible” grassroots lawmaker Sulu Sou Ka Hou’s proposal of reintroducing the so-called capture-neuter-release strategy for stray dogs and cats.
According to Sou, the strategy avoids the culling of strays.
In his written interpellation, Sou pointed out that the government implemented the strategy for neutered and vaccinated stray cats in 2007 to control the increase in Macau’s feline population. According to the interpellation, 1,875 neutered and vaccinated cats were released by the government between 2007 and 2015, the year when the strategy was suspended. In spite of requests by local animal protection groups, stray dogs were never covered by the strategy.
Sou said in his interpellation submitted earlier this year that the suspension of the capture-neuter-release strategy meant that the capture and culling of stray animals would continue for good. According to Sou, 13 strays were culled on average per month between September 1, 2016 when the Animal Protection Law took effect, and June 30 this year.
The lawmaker urged the government to reactivate its capture-neuter-release strategy for strays after they have been neutered and vaccinated.
However, in his reply to Sou’s interpellation, IAM President José Tavares insists that there “are no conditions” to reintroduce the strategy, besides, it would require an amendment to the Animal Protection Law that forbids the release of captured stray animals.
In his reply cited by Radio Macau on Tuesday, Tavares says that the strategy would only be appropriate in clearly demarked areas and those rarely visited by people.
According to Tavares, the strategy is unfeasible due to Macau’s high population density and heavy traffic as, if implemented; it could cause an adverse impact on public safety and hygiene.
According to the Macau Post Daily, Tavares says that instead of reintroducing the strategy, the adoption of stray dogs and cats should be incentivised, pointing out that the number of adoptions rose by two-thirds last year.
According to IAM statistics, the bureau kept 86 dogs and 71 cats for adoption in the first half of this year, of which 56 per cent were handed to animal protection groups, while 44 per cent were adopted by residents.