The removal of dogs has raised concerns among the dog loving community and many incidents have been reported with regard to inhumanity towards these animals. Recently, news of a sudden decrease in the dog population within the University of Sri Jayawardanepura went viral on social media. In an attempt to shed light on this matter, Life Online contacted a few individuals regarding this issue.
A source at the university who wished to remain anonymous told Life Online that more than 30 dogs were taken away earlier this April stating that they have to be vaccinated. "We asked about this from the Vice Chancellor and he said that he wasn’t aware of any incident as such. Each one of us has our own dog that we take care of. We feed them and have taken good care of them till date. Since we had to find out what happened to these innocent creatures we kept calling around. Since the Adopt A Dog Foundation used to fund us we called them as well. In the mean time we also got news that the sister company of the university’s cleaning service Ultrakill had allegedly signed a contract to take these dogs away. But when asked from this particular company, they denied any such transaction. Since we couldn’t find these dogs, we then filed a complaint with the police. When the inquiry was held nobody turned up. We then asked students and the security to watch out for any more attempts to round up dogs. According to the Public Health Inspector (PHI) at the university, the dogs have been dumped at the Dehiwela beach but there’s no evidence to prove it. Then, we later found out that the Vice Chancellor had requested for the removal of dogs through a lawyer. So far we have been able to reduce the dog population within the university. From 132 we were able to bring down the count to 80 and that itself shows the sterilization campaigns done which have been effective. We want justice served for these dogs and till we find out where they are or what has been done to them we will continue to fight."
Will remove dogs if requested by teacher’s and student unions: Vice Chancellor
Speaking to Life Online, the Vice Chancellor of UoSJ, Professor Sampath Amaratunge said that it doesn’t look good when a state university has dogs loitering around its premises. "These NGOs who are shouting about this removal of dogs could have done something before this population increased. None of them have even bothered to do a sterilization programme and now they have raised their voices when the dogs went missing. These dogs have become a nuisance mainly because they litter around the premises and it is quite difficult to avoid their excreta. They also have started entering lecture rooms and sleeping in them. In case if they are joined in by another dog they end up fighting. Then how can lecturers conduct their lectures? There have been incidents where these dogs have bitten our visitors and were admitted to hospital. If the student unions and the teacher’s unions request the removal of dogs then I have to go ahead with it."
Rabies has become a public health issue: Dean, Medical Faculty at UoSJ
In her comments to Life Online, Dean of the Medical Faculty at UOSJ Dr. Surangi Yasawardena said that more than Rs. 430 million has been spent on rabies control. "Rabies has become a public health issue. The vaccination itself is quite expensive where a person who is exposed and has never been vaccinated against rabies should undergo four doses of this vaccine. Therefore dogs need to be sterilized. Within the university premises there are close to 130 dogs and in case a rabies-infected dog bites a visitor, we will be in trouble. Therefore it is a must that we control the dog population within the university."
We face a daily struggle because of these dogs: Dr. Nalin Ganegoda
Dr. Nalin Ganegoda, President of the UoSJ Lecturer’s Union said that all lecturers and students face a daily struggle because of dogs. "There are dogs everywhere and it is becoming more difficult to control. We hope we will be able to find a solution soon."
We didn’t do the rounding up: Ultrakill
When we contacted Ultrakill Pvt Ltd, Pradeep Dias representing this particular organisation denied the allegation that they rounded up the dogs. "We are a pest control company and dogs are not pests. So anyway, we cannot undertake rounding up dogs. The only thing we did was coordinating the matter with Ultrakleen."