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Taming the problem of strays

By Liu Yinglun | China Daily | Updated: 2018-05-16 08:13
Yin Hang, 34-year-old animal protector. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Creating consensus

The team's campaign needed to align support from the local government, Buddhist temples, herders and medical professionals.

Gangri Neichog has employed three full-time and five part-time workers in a two-bedroom apartment in Xining.

"As a local nonprofit with a very limited budget and no medical resources, we have to stand on the shoulders of the giants," Yin says.

Yin became close with the community after nine years in Sanjiangyuan, enabling her organization to provide a soft landing for volunteers from outside.

Gangri Neichog organized a pilot sterilization camp in Baiyu village in the Guoluo Tibetan autonomous prefecture last June.

Thirteen volunteer veterinarians and medical personnel came from across China to sterilize 26 stray dogs adopted by local herders. Yin and her team provided accommodation for the volunteers in Xining for two days to help them adjust to altitudes around 3,700 meters.

Qian Zhaxi, an official with Guoluo's agriculture and husbandry bureau, says Yins' group helped broker the local government's procurement of surgical instruments for sterilization.

Gangri Neichog hosted training for 13 veterinarians from various areas in Guoluo. Seven trainers from Beijing, Tianjin, Wuxi and Guangzhou guided local vets to sterilize 20 dogs.

Participant Xue Shenghua says the trainings taught him about anesthesia, which he doesn't use in his typical work sterilizing cows and horses.

Yin and her team also made a five-episode online lecture series on sterilizing dogs.

The lectures, incorporating Power-Point presentations and demonstration videos, are delivered in both Mandarin and Tibetan. About 475 people have signed up for the first class.

"(Yin's group) helped the government solve the stray problem," Qian says.

"The Buddhist temples trust her."

Yin says, "Almost nobody can do more than the temples to encourage locals to adopt dogs."

Guoluo hosts 66 temples. Baiyu Temple, which helped Gangri Neichog organize the pilot sterilization camp in Baiyu village, has around 1,000 regular worshippers, according to monk Thupa of the temple.

Baiyu Temple found homes for 500 strays last March. Most went to herders.

Gangri Neichog plans to train 60 more vets from Guoluo this summer.

Yin and Guoluo's government are working on an agreement that'd require trained local vets to sterilize at least 10 dogs a year.

She also hopes the trained vets can teach the prefecture's 627 village vets to perform the surgeries.

Yin says the ideal way to slow the dogs' population growth is to sterilize 95 percent of Guoluo's estimated 20,000 strays in a year. The pilot camps have only spayed or neutered dozens over the past year.

"Honestly, I haven't figured out how to scale up the sterilization and adoption campaigns," Yin says.

"But I'm sending proposals to provincial officials to establish a task force dedicated to the problem."

Contact the writer at liuyinglun@chinadaily.com.cn

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