How to put an end to inhumane dog population management

The International Conference for Dog Population Management, March 3-5, 2015 in Istanbul, addresses humane, effective management strategies for dog populations and promotes their adoption around the world.

Perhaps you’ve read about it on the internet, in a country halfway across the world. Perhaps you’ve seen it on TV, dramatized in movies or flashed across the evening news. Or perhaps you’ve seen it firsthand, in your country, your city, in your own neighborhood. It is what happens when man’s best friend becomes a threat to public health or safety.

It is what used to happen in the United States, in the late 19th century. Before shelters and rehoming agencies, when the streets of New York and other industrial centers were growing exponentially and the streets were overrun by homeless dogs. The solution of the day was to kill them en masse.

Effective community management requires local knowledge of dog population: Read more.

Another sad quick fix is what happened before the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. A population of dogs roamed the streets and city officials were concerned about potential and public health and safety complaints from the influx of tourists and athletes to the area. A quick fix was deemed necessary. Dogs were rounded up and either killed or put into basic shelters – not much more than prisons – for the rest of their lives.

It is what happens in many places, when communities are frightened by rabies outbreak, or are losing their livestock to hungry roaming dogs, and are not equipped with the knowledge or resources to address the situation. Inhumane and ineffective dog population management simply another cause of suffering, and it must – and can – be prevented.


Through our ongoing projects around the world and our pioneering Humane Community Development work, IFAW is working to develop and implement practical alternatives.  But this is a bigger problem than we can fix alone.  That is why, next spring, as part of the International Companion Animal Management (ICAM) Coalition, we will co-host the 2nd International Conference on Dog Population Management in Istanbul, Turkey. The conference will bring together the international community to improve humane, effective management strategies for dog populations and promote their adoption around the world.

The conference explores ways to help stray dogs – like this one – in your community and around the globe.

The conference promotes the most cutting-edge research and evidence based solutions for solving dog population issues. Among its objectives are promoting awareness of novel approaches to dog population management, encouraging cross-sectoral collaboration and policy development, and disseminating research-based evidence for effective and humane methods.

The organizations that make up the ICAM Coalition believe that when population management is deemed necessary, it is essential that it is achieved in a humane manner and ultimately leads to an improvement in the welfare of the dog population as a whole. This conference will foster international dialogue on dog population management, not only to encourage the development and use of effective and humane strategies, but also to provide the networking and tools necessary for communities to implement them.

The days of inhumane management should be over. Roaming dogs deserve every amount of respect and compassion as the dogs we call our own. To learn more about the ICAM Coalition and the International Conference for Dog Population Management, view the 2015 Conference website here.

The International Companion Animal Management Coalition was established to support the development and use of humane and effective companion animal population management worldwide.  Current members are: International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW)  , World Animal Protection, Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), Humane Society International World Small Animal Veterinary Association, and the Global Alliance for Rabies Control


Find out how to attend the conference, visit IFAW’s Facebook event page.

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Cynthia Milburn, Director, Animal Welfare Outreach & Education
Senior Advisor, Policy Development
Jan Hannah, Campaign Manager, Northern Dogs Project
Campaign Manager, Northern Dogs Project
Kate Nattrass Atema, Program Director, Community Animal Welfare
Program Director, Community Animal Welfare
Shannon Walajtys
Manager, Animal Rescue-Disasters