All of the Netherlands' Dogs Have a Home, but How Did They Do It?

Dogs are said to be man's best friend but it seems we don’t return the favor. Worldwide there are over 200 million stray dogs. The majority of these dogs live in countries such as China, Mexico and Russia but a staggering 70 million strays reside in the United States. 

A main reason for this is (despite there being ample dogs to adopt) people choosing to buy from pet stores or breeders. This causes many dogs to end up without a home. Stray dogs reproduce at a fast rate which grows adds to the population. Unless these dogs are lucky enough to be adopted they end up living their life on the streets until they die of natural causes, are hit by a car, or are euthanized.

The Netherlands is the first country to home all of it’s dogs. This is a huge victory for animal rights and there was no euthansia involved. This was largely made possible by the interest in dog ownership in the Netherlands. According to The Dutch Review, 90% of Dutchies are dog owners. One of the primary reasons for this is that dog ownership is a sign of social status.

Still, other steps had to be taken to give all of the pups a home. The Netherlands is equipped with an animal police force that take strays off the streets and places them into no-kill shelters.  The animals are then spayed, a free service in the Netherlands, which helps control the population. Once safe and spayed, citizens are encouraged to adopt the rescued pups instead of store-bought dogs, which are taxed.  

Prevention techniques also played a role in this victory because in the Netherlands, animal neglect/abuse is seen as a serious crime. An act of cruelty towards animals, including abandonment, can be punished by 3 years in prison on top of a fine of around 1600 Euros. According to Marianne Thieme these laws are essential because animal cruelty and violence towards other people go hand in hand.

The Netherlands has had a huge victory for animal rights by finding homes for all of it’s strays. Hopefully other countries will follow their lead and make animal rights a priority!