Junks On The Streets (3)
WHAT can we do to stem the ugly trend? How can we possibly change these people who are profiting from supplying impure dogs into our system and at the same time introducing exotic diseases or reintroducing diseases that we thought were under our firm control?
Firstly, it is not good for the reputation of the exporting countries that they supply substandard dogs.
It is also not dignifying that puppies obtained from them have limited life expectancy as a result of post arrival stress.
Secondly, the receiving countries, like Nigeria, are being wantonly defrauded, exploited and punished with issues that will last them for a while.
My pity goes to the veterinarians in Nigeria, who will have to do more work than necessary to clear the mess being imported into the system.
Frankly though, the situation cannot continue unabated, if we all intend to maintain a sane environment and develop this fledging industry.
I will advocate that the following steps are taken to at least create an enabling environment for peace to reign.
Vigilance of the authorities
Authorities in the exporting countries must be very vigilant to ensure that puppies attain the age of 12 weeks and above before approval is given for export and that such puppies must have been vaccinated against the prevailing diseases in the country of import, certified by a government veterinarian, who must be present at the time of vaccination or counter-witness such vaccination, having been performed by a registered veterinarian in that country.
The current situation where breeders themselves vaccinate puppies with irrelevant vaccines without medical supervision can only breed chaos, as we see at present.
As for breed standardisation, the various kennel clubs available in such countries must certify that the breed claimed is true before export.
Of course, at the risk of their reputation, if however, anybody wants to buy and export a mongrel, such a person should have a freehand, having been made to declare his freewill.
At the Nigerian end, veterinary officers at our ports should take adequate time to scrutinise papers accompanying the imports and assess their authenticity with concurrent assessment of the puppies physically for age, breed claimed and health status.
Vigilance of the vets
The Nigerian Veterinary Medical Association (NVMA) should also organise its house and advise its members to properly scrutinise all certificates accompanying imported puppies brought for veterinary attention and advise the owners accordingly.
They may go a step further by liaising with authorities of the state, if it is found that such imports pose public health risk.
A step further
Interested people in Nigeria should come together to form breeders’/kennel clubs that will focus on the breeds present in Nigeria and protect the interest of such breeds at all times, including having representatives at the various ports of entry into the country.
Prospective owners and members of the public should be vigilant.
They should be minimally knowledgeable about dog breeds and familiarise themselves with the necessary medical protocols that are incumbent on the survival of their puppies.
Above all, they should patronise veterinarians who are up to the scratch and who will always protect their interest at all times.