TORONTO, Sept. 25, 2017 /CNW/ - Global charity World Animal Protection marked a major milestone last year, with one million rabies vaccinations delivered as part of its Better Lives for Dogs campaign. This year, just in time for World Rabies Day (September 28), the organization has announced a new campaign ambassador and expansion of the international vaccination program to Sierra Leone.
With only four active vets in the entire country and an overwhelming population of stray dogs, the animal welfare situation in Sierra Leone is very serious.
"In Freetown, Sierra Leone, we estimate there to be approximately 100,000 stray dogs," said Josey Kitson, Executive Director at World Animal Protection Canada. "The potential for rabies exposure and other conflicts with stray dogs is a real and daily fear for people. Tragically, authorities sometimes opt to kill the dogs in an attempt to safeguard their communities but we know vaccination is the only way. World Animal Protection is working towards humane solutions to the issues that cause fear, misunderstanding and a divide between a community and their dogs by providing free rabies vaccinations and education on the ground."
The misguided killing is not specific to Sierra Leone, however. There are 700 million dogs in the world today and many of them are free roaming, unwanted, unhealthy and unvaccinated. Fear of bites and rabies mean that millions are killed every year.
World Animal Protection has been leading the way to stop these unnecessary killings. Working with local governments, the global charity has performed more than one million vaccinations of dogs in Kenya, Zanzibar, China, Indonesia, the Philippines and Bangladesh.
Many high-profile Canadians have been supporting the campaign and its work by using their voice to raise awareness of the campaign and highlight the need for action to protect dogs around the globe. This year, a new champion has joined the cause: Elaine "Lainey" Lui, Co-host of CTV's THE SOCIAL, ETALK Senior Correspondent, and Founder/Editor of top Canadian entertainment website LaineyGossip.com, is the latest dog lover to speak out in support of Better Lives for Dogs.
"I'm so honoured to be a part of World Animal Protection's ambassador roster," said Elaine Lui. "My dogs Barney and Elvis are part of my family, and I can't imagine life without them. It's unbelievable to think millions of dogs lose their lives over something as preventable as rabies and fear. Through education, vaccination and grassroots community engagement, dogs around the world can lead healthier, happier lives and bring joy to those around them – just like our own pets do."
All dogs deserve to live without fear and suffering, and we can all help by supporting responsible dog ownership and vaccination. World Animal Protection's goal is to improve the lives of 50 million dogs by 2020. Visit www.worldanimalprotection.ca to find out more.
About World Animal Protection:
For more than 50 years and in more than 50 countries, World Animal Protection has been preventing animal cruelty and inspiring people to change animals' lives for the better. Today we're working on projects with local partners, governments and businesses to find practical ways to prevent animal suffering worldwide. We also collaborate with the UN and other international bodies to make sure animals are on the global agenda because animal protection is a fundamental part of a sustainable future.
SOURCE World Animal Protection
For further information: photos and videos or to arrange an interview please contact: Beth Sharpe, Communications Director at World Animal Protection Canada at [email protected] or 416 369 0044 x111; Sarbjit Kaur, Director at [email protected] or 416 968 7311 x226