Tunisian authorities opened an inquest into the death of a 16-year-old girl after she was mauled by a dog while walking to school. Residents of the coastal city of Gabès have recently complained about the sharp increase in the number of stray dogs, which also attack livestock. The additional threat is rabies, a virus that enters the central nervous system and leads to a painful death.
In Tunis, Dr. Mahmoud Latiri has vaccinated more than two thousand five hundred animals in two years and for him the key to this problem is mass sterilisation.
The proliferation of dogs is a concern in all of North Africa and the problem is often dealt by slaughtering these animals. Something decried by animal rights activists, such as PAT, which has already hosted 500 dogs in its shelter near Tunis.
"What we want and are demanding is a law that imposes on municipalities to create centres for the control of stray dogs. We are asking all municipalities to set up sterilisation centres." says Nowel Lakech, head of animal rights group PAT.
To combat pet abandonment, the group also wishes for a law to impose owners to identy them with the help of a tattoo or microship. For its part, the Tunisian ministry of Agriculture said it wants to vaccinate up to 80 percent of stray dogs in the capital, and has distributed anti-rabies jabs to municipalities for free.