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Why There Are No Stray Dogs in the Netherlands

Nothing invokes fear in people as much as the possibility of getting attacked by a stray dog. People in the Netherlands however, don’t have to contend with this fear anymore.

The Netherlands has managed to do what no other country in the world has despite sharing the same animal control policies with many other countries.

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It boasts of holding the title of the first country without stray dogs. It is estimated by The World Health Organisation that there are about 200 million stray dogs in the world.


In the older day in the Netherlands, dogs were seen as a measure of social status. The more dogs a person had, the higher the hierarchy in the status quo a person was. 

The wealthy people in society would boast of pedigree dogs whom they kept for sport or as pets. In the 19th century, the Netherlands was struggling with a rabies epidemic.

They implemented a dog tax in order to regulate the number of stray dogs, but the effect was the opposite.

People couldn’t afford to keep their dogs or just didn’t want to. Many people chose to abandon the dogs on the streets as a precautionary tactic in case they were sick.

This coupled with the fact that many dogs owned by the poor actually lived on the street made the situation dire. The Dutch government decided to do something about the issue.


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There was the implementation of revolutionary tactics that saved people in the Netherlands. The Dutch government instituted changes in legislation, mainly sterilization programs.

Every dog was brought in for sterilization, they were also given a medical exam and any vaccinations needed. This was an important move in curbing the spread of diseases.

Their Animal Control unit is also very reliable and dependable. If someone sees a stray dog, by calling in to report it, the dog is rescued within minutes. 

The PSVIR method (pick, sterilize, vaccinate, identify and return) was also implemented.

The Netherlands has country-mandated legislation that allows spaying and neutering services to be free for Dutch people.

Now, the Dutch get these expensive services for free. Every so often, they also hold free animal health check-ups for the dogs.

They have also established a system that encourages adopting stray dogs as opposed to buying new pedigree ones.

The country’s “adopt, don’t shop” mentality is further supported with very high taxes on bought puppies which pushes people to adopt from one of 200 dog shelters.

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They have worked to create awareness for citizens that a puppy is worth as much as a stray dog.  They also do no encourage the practice of euthanasia with their no-kill policy.

It would cost you less to adopt rather than kill a dog in the Netherlands. The practice of euthanasia is common in other countries where rescued stray dogs in shelters are killed to make space for others.

Stronger animal welfare policies were put in place. They not only care about the health of the dog but the general well-being of the dog. The first Dutch animal protection agency got to work in 1864. 

Thirteen years later the first canine shelter opened. In 1962 the government introduced the Animal Protection Act.

Today, animal abandonment is a crime. any act of neglect or cruelty towards an animal will be punished by 3 years in prison. On top of that, there is a fine of around 16,000 Euro or more. They help protect the rights of the dogs.

Holland is very dog-friendly and most public places and apartments allow for pets.

These include restaurants, hotels, and cafes. There also exist dog parks where the government is in charge of cleaning.

Dog owners are however tasked with cleaning up after their own dogs and taking them on walks.

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