Tourists need to be informed by the tourist operators about our local dogs. It is the same as going to a zoo where the big sign reads, ‘do not feed the animals!’
In the early 1980s, there were no vets on the islands to attend to injured dogs, cats, goats, pigs etc … The Agriculture Department was the closest thing to a veterinary clinic. From memory, there was a veterinarian who came to Rarotonga every six months from Tokoroa, New Zealand. The animals suffered greatly during those times.
Enter the Esther Honey Foundation Animal Clinic. It was the best thing that ever happened for the island’s animals. The de-sexing programmes started and the benefits on the welfare, health and conditions of the animals were obvious. The care and compassionate attitudes of the visiting and volunteer veterinarians were outstanding.
Now sadly, the Esther Honey Foundation has left. It’s true that some dog owners need to step up and be more responsible. It is also easy to blame the dogs for most of the mishaps on the roads. If you ride a motorbike – wear a helmet, don’t drink and don’t speed.
The reality is that – when you hit the road, it’s never a good outcome.
Of course, it is a lot more dangerous on the roads now with the increase in traffic. Not only do you have to watch out for dogs, cats, goats, chickens and ducks, but also the tourists driving the wrong way or walking across the road without checking the traffic.
Please, we do not want the “Wild, Wild West” back here again, where dogs were blasted (by guns) in all directions.
- At the local schools
- Off the back of trucks
- Or some poor mutt walking down the road minding it’s own business
Been there, done that! Let’s treat everyone (two legs or four legs) with kindness and most importantly, have a safe and enjoyable day.