Sample Research Proposal On Stray Cats And Dogs

Published: 2021-06-18 07:09:45
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Category: Health, Community, Pets, Economics, Animals, Population, Cat, Dog

Type of paper: Essay

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It is undisputed that there are problems and risks of having stray cats and dogs in the community. Stray animals affects public health, economy, environment and their own health as well. Furthermore, more serious problems arise as the population of stray cats and dogs increases. Therefore, there is a need for better regulations that could help abate the increasing population of cats and dogs.
The issues concerning strays can be ultimately understood by identifying a unique definition of a stray animal. The classification of whether an animal is stray helps the community which animals need attention, provides a universal definition, and identify which animals programs need to focus on. Thus, this paper offers a clear definition of a stray cat or dog.
Also, there is a need to provide information about why communities should control the population of stray cats and dogs. This is to prevent and eliminate the problems introduced by having stray cats and dogs in the community. Needless to say, this paper provides insights about the problems and risks of having strays in the community, and provides details how they affect public health, economy, environment and animal health.
Lastly, this paper proposes solutions for controlling the population of stray cats and dogs. The solutions were properly reviewed and are potentially helpful in eliminating the problem of the increasing population of stray cats and dogs.
Definition of Strays
Before discussing the problems and solutions for the issue of the increasing population of stray cats and dogs, there is a necessity to establish an absolute definition of strays. The reason for this is for a better classification whether the animal should be considered a stray. According to the Tasker (p. 1-2), the definition of a stray dog is inherently problematic, and the definition varies from one country to another, while the definition of a stray cat may differ from the definition of a stray dog to a certain degree because of the difference of the cat-owner relationship and dog-owner relationship. Nonetheless, similar parameters apply when defining whether a dog or a cat should be considered a stray.
According to Tasker (2), a stray cat or dog is classified into three: feral, abandoned or unwanted by owners or caretakers, and owned but not controlled. A dog or cat is considered feral if it (1) has no owner, (2) resides on the outskirts of urban and rural areas, (3) poorly socialized to human contact, (4) survives by scavenging and hunting, and (5) part of free-roaming groups (could be an offspring). While a dog or a cat is considered abandoned or unwanted if it (1) was once dependent on an owner or caretaker but is no longer willing to care and provide for its resources, (2) survives by scavenging or hunting, but may be fed by other members of the community, and (3) part of free-roaming groups (could be an offspring). Lastly, a dog or a cat is considered owned but not controlled if it has an owner but it can freely roam inside and outside of the properties of the owner that makes them potentially harmful to the community if not sterile, and a potential catalyst for high reproductive capacity.
Why is it a problem?
Stray cats and dogs usually have a multitude of health and welfare problems. Moreover, these stray animals pose risks to the members of the community, such as zoonosis, environmental contamination and interruption to economic activities.
Stray cats and dogs experience health problems, significantly worse when overpopulation exists. Because of limited availability of resources, most strays are left to rely on scavenging for survival, and most are seen eating the food people throw. This could lead to severe cases of health problems for the animal, and because of overpopulation, the diseases and parasites are easily transmitted from one animal to another (WSPA, np).
Another problem brought by stray cats and dogs concerns public health. Because of the poor health of stray animals, the tendency of zoonosis (transmission of a disease from an animal to a person) is high, and aggression of strays could lead to bite and scratch incidents (Tasker 4). One serious example is the increase on the number of rabies patients as the population of stray cats and dogs increases. The aggression of stray animals is thought to be from their poor social interaction to humans. While rabies infection is because most of stray cats and dogs did not receive anti-rabies vaccination, and their poor diet (Levy and Crawford 1355).
The environment and wildlife of the community could also be affected by the population of stray cats and dogs. First, stray animals contaminate the environment by the unregulated defecation and urination of the animals. This could further lead to health problem. Second, overpopulation of stray cats and dogs introduces unregulated hunting of small animals in the community. Cats predate on birds and small mammals such as rodents, while dogs predate on smaller wild animals (Tasker 4).
The population of stray cats and dogs also has an impact on the economy. This is because of their interruptions on economic activities. One example is how stray animals affect tourism. On a research made by Webster (p.1-17), it was concluded that 41% of tourists do not prefer travelling on destinations where suffering strays are apparent, while 7% of tourists refuses to go to those destinations. As for the tourism companies, humane treatments of stray animals boost their business because most of the tourists appreciate the acts. On the other hand, stray cats and dogs affect the local economy because of the nuisances they introduce in the community. Some examples of these nuisances are the noises from barking or howling, aggressive interactions, territorial urine marking and their odor and aesthetics (Tasker 4).
Proposed Causes and Solutions
Although most communities rely on eliminating or killing excessive strays, it must be known that this approach does not remove the problem, but rather eliminates the symptom. This is because catching and killing strays within the breeding time (2 months) is a very hard task. Most attempts fail to catch and eliminate all excessive strays, thus, the population reverts back to its original size as the activity of reproduction proceeds. According to Friz (20-21), a better solution is to “hold” or “limit” the carrying capacity. Since the population of stray animals is dependent on the carrying capacity, decreasing the carrying capacity will eventually limit the population of stray animals.
Another approach that could prove successful is for communities to implement a registration or identification system for pets and owners, while inducting stricter laws against abandonment of pets. This may not decrease the population of strays, but it can lower the rate of incoming stray animals, and abate the increasing population of strays (Friz 22).
Alternatively, the catch-neuter-release program could decelerate the growing population of strays, and is proven to have positive results. Most countries and regions adopt this program because this approach is more humane than “catch-kill” technique. Although subject to some ethical issues, the catch-neuter-release program could actually limit the population of strays. This program features catching of a stray animal, eliminating the possibility of reproduction by neutering, and then releasing to its original habitat. Ultimately, information and education about pet nurturing improves the generation of pet owners, and may cause a significant change in the future (Friz 23).
In conclusion, stray cats and dogs are proven to have negative impacts on several aspects of the community. However, for better understanding, a clear definition of a stray should be established. Thus, it was defined that stray animals could mean feral, abandoned or unwanted, and owned but not controlled. Moreover, to understand the severity of having a huge population of stray cats and dogs in the community, it is necessary to learn how they affect several aspects of the community, such as public health, environment, economy, and animal health. To address the problem of the increasing population of strays, the causes of the phenomenon must be established. It was provided that the factors affecting the population of strays are: (1) irresponsible ownership, (2) uncontrolled breeding, and (3) carrying capacity. Ultimately, it is best that proven techniques and strategies should be adopted and implemented by communities to prevent or abate the issue of the increasing population of stray cats and dogs.
Friz, Dorothea. The Problem of Stray Animals: practical and effective management methods. Italy: Monde Animale Onlus, 2003. Print.
Levy, Julie and Crawford, Cindy. “Humane strategies for controlling feral cat populations.” Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 225.9 (November 1, 2004): 1355-1360. Print.
Tasker, Louis. Stray Animal Control Practices (Europe). Report. The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) and Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals – International (RSPCA), 2007. Print.
Webster, Diana. The Economic Impact of Stray Cats and Dogs at Tourist Destinations on the Tourism Industry. CANDi International, 2013. Print.
WSPA. “Companion Animals.” An Overview of the Stray Animal Issue. WSPA, 2009. Print.

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