The Female Dog and the Long Rains: Keeping Watch

Quarter 2 of 2017 is finally here with us. Characteristic to this quarter are the long rains in Kenya. In brief, these months get the most rain and there can be a downpour daily, although it seldom lasts the whole day. It is very cloudy, especially in the highlands, including Aberdare National Park and Laikipia Plateau. Humidity is higher and will be particularly noticeable in the coastal regions.

As we look forward to this long rainy season in Quarter 2, we encourage each one of us to remain vigilant on being sensitive to animal welfare issues amidst heavy rains. Of our particular concern is the female dog that we all encounter one way or the other.

As many of us may be aware, the rainy season presents the breeding season for the dogs among other animals. Different homesteads will have either all female dogs or all male dogs present. A few may be lucky to have both the male and the female species living together. Characteristic to Kenya therefore, the following is noted:

1. It is during this period that the male dogs will travel long distances in search of a mating partner. Male dogs are likely to get into ‘fights’ with other male dogs that they perceive as being a threat to their ‘newly found’ mating partner. Translating such behavior in animal welfare means that the male dog is basically marking its boundary while wanting to remain in control.

Advice: Keep the male dogs restrained.

2. At such times, the female dog experiences stress and discomfort as she is sought by a couple of males all hoping to sire young ones with her.

Advice: Keep the female dog confined humanely away from uninvited mating partners.

3. The cold weather exposes puppies to cold-stress which if unattended to can lead to death.

Advice: Provide a warm enclosure with extra blankets for the young ones. Provide also at least one meal a day.

Let us all embrace the safety of the female dog among other species during this rainy Quarter.

Moving forward this year, we plan to:

1. Install elephants’ deterrent lights system in five farms in Kasigau Ranch.

2. Continue public advocacy against infrastructure development through Kenya’s national parks.

3. Host the Africa Animal Welfare Conference and Africa Animal Law Conference.

4. Purchase equipment and materials for the Kasigau Guardians. We are in need of binoculars, GPS gadgets, uniforms, shoes, camera’s and motor cycles.

5. Vaccinate 70% of the dog populations against rabies in Machakos County, Kenya.

6. Publish 4 issues of the Animal Welfare Magazine.

7. Renovate the animal clinic at Colobus Conservation Trust.

8. Continue support to the communities’ volunteers’ sea turtle conservation and rescue programme along the Southern Coast of Kenya.

We will be glad to have you contribute to all or any of the above. Click the donate button and/or contact us through info@anaw.org for further information.