The free but misunderstood Street Dogs of Goa – Adv Norma Alvares & Dr Karlette Fernandes | #mondayfixgoa | 31.8 7.30 pm

Adv Norma Alvares & Dr Karlette Fernandes #mondayfixgoa 31.8 7.30 pm

What many of us call stray, the law recognises as ‘street’ dogs. The colonial policy – which we followed, recommended catching and killing them en masse, until the law was changed in 2001 with the implementation of the Animal Birth Control Rules. Norma and Karlette have been on the frontline of the very heated street dog debates in Goa, and in this session they debunk some deeply held beliefs and hopefully show us a way forward of peaceful coexistence.

Norma Alvares is one of the leading human rights, environment and animal rights lawyers and activists in Goa, who also founded the Goa chapter of People For Animals, in the late 90s. Norma has argued in seminal cases against killing of street dogs, banning of bull fights (dhirio), and welfare and rehabilitation of captive elephants in Goa. She is the Chair of the Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations (FIAPO). She was awarded the Padma Shri for her work for the protection of animals and the environment in 2002.

Karlette Fernandes leads the Wordwide Veterinary Service projects in Goa. She established the first “Mission Rabies” project in Aldona, with a mobile veterinary truck parked outside the community centre. Over 25 days the team had completed 430 animal birth control surgeries for dogs belonging to the village residents and vaccinated 600 dogs across the village for free. Since then there have been zero rabies deaths reported in humans and animals from the Aldona village. The success of this community service project led to the development of the Model Village for a Rabies-free nation.

The WVS team is now working closely with the Government of Goa on a ONE HEALTH approach, to implement this project in every village across the state, to bring positive change for the safety and health of the children in our community, with the objective to make Goa rabies-free. The impact of this project has reflected on the improved welfare of animals and the reduction of human deaths due to rabies from 17 people in 2014 to zero in 2018. She is now setting up the WVS Dog Pop Project to develop sustainable strategies to implement Dog Population Management in all Municipalities and Panchayats across the State of Goa.

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