Strewn carcasses and a terrible stench from dead dogs taint the picturesque Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital, as authorities are on a drive to cull stray canines that have for long been a hallmark of the city.
With an estimated population of 300,000 dogs, two thirds of these being stray animals, Addis officials are under pressure to keep a tight leash on the growing numbers of cast away canines.
On Friday authorities announced they had killed 9,942 stray dogs after feeding them poisonous meat, but this figure could be seen as nothing more than a drop in the ocean.
Zerihun Abegaz, an official at the Addis Ababa Agricultural Bureau told reporters that they were appealing for more funds from the Addis Ababa city administration to rid the city of more dogs.
The amount they were initially allocated, $16,000, is hardly enough and the bureau needs more money to complete the culling exercise.
Home to several international organisations, including the African Union headquarters, Addis Ababa is desperate to clean up its image for foreign visitors.
But local residents are far from pleased, claiming authorities are leaving dead dogs uncollected for days and they fear an outbreak of diseases.
The residents complained of a suffocating odour, claiming carcasses were left to rot on the streets.
“There are many dead dogs lying everywhere, there is a bad smell in many parts of the city,” complained a resident, who requested anonymity.
The residents accused the city officials of being lethargic to their plight, saying animal rights groups and environmental rights campaigners were also silent about the culling and the health hazards connected to uncollected carcasses.
“Other healthy animals, like cats and birds could eat these contaminated carcasses” said Bekele Lemma, an Addis Ababa resident.
“The authorities should stop and plan their action to limit the potential damage to the society and the environment”.