Dog owners have been reminded that keeping their dogs’ kennels and premises clean will not only protect their canines, but them as well.
Assistant Control Officer at the Ministry of Health’s Animal Control Centre, Benjamin Licorish, explained that proper sanitation could prevent the spread of leptospirosis to pet owners, who were particularly vulnerable when it came to contracting the disease.
“We want to emphasise this primarily now, since we have a number of cases of leptospirosis. There are persons who feed their dogs late on evenings and we advise that when the dog is finished feeding that they dispose of the food in a manner that is satisfactory, because you have rodents that come by and feed right after the dog.
“And, chances are that when [dogs] defecate and urinate, the lepto organism can be left around, and at this time when you have a lot of rainfall, persons, especially dog owners, can contract leptospirosis,” Bellamy said.
He made these comments while investigating a complaint in Small Town, St John, where six dogs were reported to have been kept in inadequate accommodations as well as unkempt conditions.
While the dogs were licensed, the owner was found to have committed a number of other offences, including not providing enough water for the animals, and breeding flies. One of the canines was housed under an old abandoned car and another was exposed to the elements in a trailer that provided no shelter.
“This situation can easily be duplicated in any part of the island; so this is a perfect example for Barbadians to take note and to upgrade their [animals’] facilities. We are our neighbours’ keepers, and what we do on our premises can also affect our neighbours.
“When you have high instances of flies . . . flies can leave your premises and go over to your neighbour’s premises. [And] they can go on your food and spread diseases. So we want dog owners to pay particular attention to these things,” the officer emphasised.
Most of the other dogs were found to be in cramped kennels which did not give them enough room to move around freely. The majority of them were wallowing in their own urine and faeces.
Paul Bellamy, who also works with the Animal Control Centre as an assistant control officer, pointed out that kennels must be twice the size of the dog at full growth, in length and height, for it to be adequate. He also offered a few tips on how to properly sanitise kennels.
“Ideally, we recommend a concrete floor, but all persons can’t afford a concrete floor for their kennels. For those who use wood, they should make sure that they use bleach every morning and evening for sanitation purposes, as this will cut down on odours and flies.
“A lot of persons like using Jeyes Fluid to clean, but that scent can be offensive; so bleach is a better alternative. When cleaning kennels, we recommend that you first remove the dog, take up any solids, wash down with soap and water, wash with clean water, sanitise with bleach solution, let it dry and place the dog back in the kennel,” Bellamy advised.
Both officers gave the dog owner in this case instructions on how to upgrade his facilities. Failing this, the dogs may be removed by the centre. (BGIS)