No Strays In The Netherlands – How Do They Do It?
It’s hard to think about, isn’t it?
A sweet, malnourished dog, wandering the streets, just wondering why he isn’t able to be cared for or to give the love he so abundantly has.
Or to imagine the torture that so many animals experience in the name of sport, food or plain old cruelty.
It hurts our hearts.
Which is why we are super thrilled with what life is like for strays (and pets, in general!) in the Netherlands. The country claims there are absolutely no stray dogs in the country.
Yes, you read that right. None.
How can this be? Surely, it can’t?
It is. And it’s thanks to a lot of amazing factors. First and foremost, there is country-mandated legislation that allows spaying and neutering services to be FREE for its citizens. Now, the cost of ensuring that overpopulation of stray pets doesn’t happen is not something that anyone has to worry about.
More, truly embracing the ‘adopt, don’t shop,’ mentality, there are laws that place high taxes (like, really high) on transactions where puppies are bought, rather than adopted from one of the 200 dog shelters in the Netherlands. Talk about working to clean out the shelters–which, obviously are no-kill as well. This also makes the tables more even for that poor old senior dog as that cute as a button puppy. Age of dog does not always dictate the love to give!
The Netherlands Animal Control is unparalleled as well. Whenever anyone sees a stray on the street, he or she can call animal control and they can be assured that the animal will be rescued (imagine that–rescued, for real, by animal control!) and taken care of until it is adopted.
Another huge piece of legislation the Netherlands government holds is penalty for animal abusers. We’re not talking just a slap on a wrist. Animal abusers and those who engage in cruelty (such as greyhound abuse and abandonment for racing) are given heavy, heavy penalties (ummm, like up to $18,ooo!) and can even be given prison sentences. Stiff sentences. Wouldn’t that be great? Those who mistreat innocent animals would get their just rewards!
Related: Land Of the Strays Is Doggie Heaven
And while all the laws and penalties and taxes and efforts that the government and animal-welfare groups have put forth are clearly needed and effective, perhaps the most important part of this revolution for animals all over the country is simply mentality. The Nederlanders view on animals has changed over the years and they overwhelmingly think of animals as innocent creatures who are living and can feel and suffer. Children are being taught from early on that it is our responsibility to be respectful and loving with all animals…and this mentality has become the norm now.
With the entire country benefiting, because as we all know…
A home is not a home without a pet.
[Source: New York Times]
More by Lori Ennis