The Netherlands Has Eliminated Their Stray Dog Problem

October 22, 2019

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The Netherlands used to have a big problem with stray dogs; but not anymore. Before you jump to conclusions, you should know they've done it without the use of euthanasia. So how was this accomplished?

Many cities imposed massive taxes on store-bought dogs. This, in turn, caused people to adopt dogs from shelters instead, freeing up space for strays to be taken in. They also started a program called Collect, Neuter, Vaccinate and Return, or CNVR for short. This is a program funded by the government that provides neuters, spays, and vaccines for strays.

Next, the government created a police force just for animals. The officers on this force respond to crimes against animals and assist in animal rescue. There is also the Party for the Animals which focuses on animal rights and welfare. The Netherlands sees stray dogs as a hazard to the health and safety of humans but also an ethical and moral problem for society. They believe cruelty to the dogs takes an emotional toll on humans when people see dogs starving, hurt, or even dead.

Here's how their government defines a "stray dog".

  • Free-roaming dogs with an owner: They have an owner but the owner lets the dog run partially free throughout the day.
  • Free-roaming dogs without an owner: Dogs that are abandoned by owners.
  • Community dogs: They don’t have one owner but are cared for by a community.
  • Feral dogs: The dog is not cared for by anyone and survives on its own.