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Garbage is a dog’s best friend.

February 16, 2012

Waste management is an important element of development and plays an obvious role in preventing the spread of introduced species.

Pet dogs may love man, but stray dogs love garbage more than anything.  Whatever you like to call it, rubbish, garbage, trash, litter, or flugelhorn, we all see it all the time.  For many it’s an eyesore.  Perhaps for most it’s not even an after thought.  Whatever your position, the facts are indisputable.  The stray dog (and cat) problem in Kuwait has two sources: irresponsible pet owners and garbage.  The latter is fundamentally the single most significant contributing factor in the survival and propagation of our stray problem.

We found over 50 dogs at this site. There's no guess what attracted them. Image © K'S PATH 2012

Dogs, as the dominant predator in our unnatural food chain, plays the part of Africa’s cheetah in their triumph over the gazelle.  In standard comparison, the dog is a vastly inferior predator and the two can’t be examined in the same light.  But Kuwait’s hunting ground somewhat levels the playing field.  Many is the time I’ve seen a hungry dog look carefully around for signs of trouble, identify its prey, hunch its shoulders, and leap upon one of our notoriously unstable and overflowing garbage bins.  Of course some of the older and weaker bins don’t require so much effort or preparation on the part of the dog.  Many lack their rear stabilizing appendages (wheels) and are naturally unstable or, even worse for the bin, have large holes big enough for a rat, a cat, or even a dog to simply grab whatever they want.

I jest in comparing garbage bins to gazelles only to make the point that a food source is the one critical element that leaves dogs roaming our streets, running in packs, and suffering.  If you’re reading this and are disgusted, annoyed, amused, or even barely interested, then I have a couple of suggestions on ways you can help.

  1. Reduce your food waste.  If your mother didn’t say it then my mother certainly did: waste not, want not.
  2. Dispose of all waste, even food waste, in a proper receptacle.  Most dogs won’t take down a bin so please use it even if it isn’t ideal.
  3. Close the lid on your bin.

You might be wondering if I’m advocating starvation as a form of animal population control, and the answer is no.   However, waste management is an important element of development and plays an obvious role in preventing the spread of introduced species.  Controlling the waste in your residential environment will likely cause stray dogs to move out of the city.  From there, if they’re lucky, they’ll end up in one of our program areas and we can pick them up.

In case you happen to work for the government, what we really need are animal resistant bins.  They come in a variety of shapes and sizes and are made by a variety of manufacturers.  Doors can be spring or gravity closed and, just as importantly, they should be sized appropriately.

Here is one example:

Weighted lids and sliding doors.

You can’t click the image for front loaders… I borrowed this image from http://jtmetal.com/jtmetaldumpsters.asp.

- John Peaveler, K’S PATH Managing Director and Lead Capture Specialist

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