Population Control Everyone’s Mission

Cook Islands News
Saturday 19 January 2013

By Gregg Young, Esther Honey Foundation

We have decided to address the public to discuss the issue of controlling the dog and cat population in Rarotonga, a responsibility we all share.

The Esther Honey Foundation is here to provide veterinary care and education to improve the health and well being of all Cook Islands’ animals but we can only succeed with your help. We offer free desexing so that you can bring your animals and those who are wandering your property to the clinic without worrying about the cost.

Many countries, including those in the Pacific, face severe overpopulation issues.

If you travel to Tonga, Fiji, or Samoa you are likely to see thousands of roaming dogs, often in poor health. In the Cook Islands we have been very fortunate to have the Esther Honey Foundation provide veterinary services and work with the community to humanely manage the dog and cat population.

Together, we have significantly decreased the dog population. We need to maintain that progress that we all worked so hard to achieve by continuing to spay and neuter.

Studies confirm that killing animals for population control does not work.

The program used by the foundation has been scientifically-proven to offer a permanent solution to overpopulation but only if we continue to desex untreated animals.

Desexing can prevent the public health and safety problems associated with roaming dogs such as the spread of disease to humans and other animals, aggression, noise, and road accidents.

In the Cook Islands, tourists and locals alike often notice and comment on how docile the local dogs are.

This friendly canine behavior is not common in other Pacific countries where overpopulation results in dogs fighting with each other and sometimes attacking humans.

Maintaining our shared achievement of having desexed 70 percent of the Rarotonga dog population will result in the dog numbers continuing to drop if we continue to desex as many intact (not yet treated) dogs as possible.

Animals who have not been desexed continue to have puppies and will increase the overall number of dogs on the island. You can help keep the numbers of cats and dogs at healthy levels for the benefit of animals and humans alike by bringing in all cats and dogs who need to be desexed.

February is World Spay Day month and we will be announcing events soon, but don’t wait to make an appointment. Call today to schedule surgery for all your neighbourhood animals.

You can also help by adopting. We are caring for six dogs and numerous kittens who need good homes. There is no charge for adoption. We’re here for the animals and for the community.

If you have any questions please contact us on 22336 or 75310.