April 4th, 2024 is World Stray Animals Day, a day dedicated to increased awareness of stray animals the world over and the problems they face.
World Stray Animals Day was inaugurated in 2010 by over 100 Dutch organizations convened at the Dutch National Stray Animals Conference. April 4 was selected due to it being exactly 6 months from World Animal Day. By consensus, “stray” animals are defined as pets who have been abandoned or lost, as opposed to domestic species born in the wild who are referred to as “feral” animals.
Helping Stray Animals Around the Globe
Last year, among many other events and initiatives around the globe, the work of global animal welfare organization FOUR PAWS was celebrated in Moldova, where a major sterilization project and enhanced veterinary care for stray animals were provided. The event accomplished the sterilization of close to 500 strays in partnership with Doctor Vet, a local non-profit specializing in meeting the needs of stray animals in Moldova, where over 20,000 stray animals live in the capital of Greater Chisinau alone.
Also, four Animal Welfare Groups in the Netherlands, where World Stray Animals Day was founded, specifically St Maarten Animal Welfare, SXM Paws, Island Puppy Rescue, and Animal Defenders, joined together this year to launch a week-long spay and neuter campaign in all Dutch side communities. Visiting veterinarians performed the procedures at no charge.
Observing World Stray Animals Day
The World Health Organization estimates that while 200 million stray dogs exist around the globe, as many as 480,000,000 stray cats are roaming the streets. Concerned individuals can, first, observe the day by attending and participating in any events that may be taking place locally. Of course, organizations everywhere are working hard year-round to alleviate the suffering of strays, and they can always use help since almost all exist largely or solely on donations and the effort of volunteers. They nearly always need help with feeding, fostering, and transporting animals, and you can distribute flyers, donate toys, blankets, food, and more. Even better, you can help organize a monthly donation drive and spay/neuter and/or vaccination campaigns locally.
As an individual, all year long, one of the first things you can do to help these animals is to sterilize your existing pets to prevent more animals from being born when so many are already in need of a home. The local shelter should be your first stop if you want to acquire a new pet, rather than buying. Finally, microchip your current pets, so they can be found easily if they wander off.
World Stray Animals Day is an opportunity to raise awareness about the millions of these unfortunate animals, who are in desperate circumstances through no fault of their own. Strays are everywhere, from inner-city streets to rural villages and the countryside, and can include dogs, cats, or any animal that has been abandoned or lost.
World Stray Animals Day is one way we can all make a choice to make a difference.
Featured Image Credit: M.Pakats, Shutterstock
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