These are the street dogs of
But for one veterinarian, Dr Gudush Jalloh, helping these vulnerable creatures is a priority.
"During my work as a vet I've seen many stray dogs which are sick, full of mange, skin diseases, abused by children ... these animals have no future and were suffering," explained Jalloh.
Jalloh has been close to animals his whole life. He comes from the Fullah nomadic tribe, which traditionally rear cattle. He grew up around dogs, and eventually decided to study veterinary medicine in
Just before he returned to
"My parents were advised to look for a rabies vaccine, but this was not available anywhere. Three months later he showed signs and symptoms of rabies and died in agony. This occupied my mind for months," said Jalloh. "I then resolved that I should do all I can to contribute my knowledge and energy to fight against rabies. Rabies is a preventable disease. Through dog population control and vaccination there will be less stray dogs suffering in the street which also poses human health and environmental hazards. And I thought if this was done I would not have lost my brother."
Jalloh got in touch with animal welfare organisations such as World Animal Protection, formally known as the
It was through their help that Jalloh opened the
Jalloh keeps several dogs at a time if he cannot find a home for them. It's not unusual to have strange canines sniffing at ones feet while paying for a pet bill.
Electricity is sporadic in the country. Jalloh does have a generator, but it is not very powerful -- making sterilisations difficult.
The World Animal Protection has donated a veterinary mobile clinic, which allows Jalloh to offer free vaccination, sterilisation, mange and worm treatment to dogs across the country. So far, Jalloh and his small team say they have performed up to 50,000 rabies vaccinations and 45,000 sterilisations of stray dogs in
According to the
There is little data on rabies in
Rabies is believed by many to be caused by demons, another reason why its victims may not receive medical attention. "Some people also confuse rabies with scabies -- also known as mange -- a skin disease caused by mites. Dogs are brutally killed because of this," explained Jalloh.
Only about four veterinary clinics exist in the entire country. Jalloh is the only one who offers to spay, neuter and vaccinate dogs against rabies for free. It's hard to say exactly how many dogs are in the county as there is no available data, but Jalloh estimates the number of unowned dogs to be roughly 250,000.
According to World Animal Protection,
Many dogs were also abandoned, which led to further population increase, said Jalloh.
Jalloh is now facing a new challenge because funding from World Animal Protection has waned. He has received other donations, but they are few and far between.
Now, the clinic may be forced to shut down.
He also has concerns about what could happen if the clinic shuts down. "Dr Jalloh has been vaccinating dogs against rabies in
Kargbo is also worried. "The consequence of dog overpopulation is that there is likely to be an increase in the cases of human rabies and possible rabies in livestock animals. Therefore its closure will negatively impact on the dog population and rabies control in the country as whole."
Jalloh's dedicated staff are starting to feel the pressure. Many receive a stipend of less than
"They are important to me. We are working hard to minimise stray dogs in the country, and we need support to help more dogs from getting rabies and other diseases that are transferred to humans," said Mansaray.
Jalloh is hoping the international community may take more notice. It may be slowly starting to happen.
Nora Livingtstone is the founder and CEO of
What moved her the most was the story of a little dog called "Number Two", named after the beach where she was found known.
It took three visits to the beach, but they found her. "After she was rescued she was treated for severe infection and brought back to life," said Livingstone. "When I arrived at the clinic on the first day she ran up to greet me, tail wagging and happy smile for everyone to see. Working with animals in countries like
When Jalloh was asked why he does this kind of work, he responded: "I owe my vision to animals. It's because I helped animals that I met people who also loved animals and who jointly helped to save my vision. I met most of them while helping [and] working for animals. I believe if I had not been with animals I would have not met these people and I would have not got the help needed with insurance when I was going blind. How thankful I am to all of them and the animals, which provided the linkage from the bottom of my heart."
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