Lopare Implements New Dog Management PlanMar 10, 2015
After 18 months of community members working closely together, Lopare is implementing a new plan to manage the municipality’s dog population. The plan was developed through the Humane Community Development© process, pioneered by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), and facilitated by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). It is the first community in Bosnia and Herzegovina to implement a Humane Community Development plan.
Lopare initially identified roaming dogs as an issue through the UNDP’s Human Security Program. From there, Lopare and the UNDP invited IFAW into the community to walk them through the Humane Community Development process. Humane Community Development brings all the community stakeholders together to share their issues with dogs and develop a collective understanding of the root causes of their dog problems. With that shared understanding the community representatives then determine what kind of data they need to collect in order to develop a plan that is sustainable by the community, with local resources.
Lopare’s mayor Rado Savić has been a champion of this process since it began, and was the first to have his dog neutered under the new program. “IFAW’s Humane Community Development has brought us together to develop an answer to one of Lopare’s most divisive issues: dogs in the street. Through the process, we’ve come to understand that, whether or not someone likes dogs, the health and prosperity of our community is directly linked to the health and happiness of our dogs,” he said
“Initially, it was a surprise that dogs would have a direct impact on human security,” says the UNDP Justice and Security Sector Leader Amela Ćosović Medić. “As a human development agency, we needed to be concerned about this issue since local communities felt there was a direct link to human well-being and security. As a response, developing roaming dog management plans should lead to safer environment for people, but also to increased level of animal welfare.”
Humane Community Development is now being rolled out on three continents: in Chile, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and in Canada. According to Kate Atema, IFAW’s Companion Animals Program Director, “We make minor changes to the process depending on cultural differences, but overall we are seeing success in a wide variety of contexts. The key is that the community drives the process, and develops solutions that make sense in their hometown, and that they are able to implement.”