The Yangon City Development Committee (YCDC) has begun construction on the city’s first government-owned dog shelter, which will be located in Hlaingtharyar Township.
“We started planning this in late 2016. We put out a call for tender bids and have started laying down the foundation with the company who won [the tender]. They’ve estimated that according to the budget, it [the shelter] should be completed by the end of April. It’ll be able to house approximately 1000 dogs,” Dr Hla May Oo, assistant assistant head of the YCDC’s veterinary and slaughterhouse department told 7Day.
Plans for the shelter indicate that it will also have a medical room, kitchen, storage room, and employee break room.
The shelter will be home to both dogs that YCDC employees find and bring back, and dogs that citizens bring to them.
Although there are already various animal shelters and animal rescue teams located across Yangon (and beyond) that look after stray dogs, they’re almost always small initiatives set up by kind animal lovers who are overworked and underpaid, that is, if they’re paid at all.
A Guardian article from last month indicated that Yangon residents are ‘divided’ over how to deal with the city’s growing yet neglected stray dog population. Last April, the YCDC signed a three-year deal in conjunction with a US-based organization to work towards decreasing the number of strays through vaccinations and neutering instead of the traditional mass culling.
Although there is no concrete number, official government reports indicate that there are at least 120,000 strays in Yangon.