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Stray dog population management

Creating better lives for dogs by preventing rabies and ending culling through humane solutions.

Despite the strong emotional bond between people and dogs around the world, large stray dog populations can pose a risk to communities. Sadly, culling, or the mass killing of stray dogs, has been traditionally used as a method for managing stray dog populations. 

Why are dogs culled? 

Stray dogs can cause problems in communities. They can pose a threat to public health by spreading rabies and other diseases, they can cause damage to livestock and wildlife, or they may behave aggressively towards people. 

But, instead of examining the root causes of stray dog populations, such as irresponsible ownership and overbreeding, in crisis situations or to prevent disease outbreaks some governments look to culling as a quick-fix solution. Dogs are treated cruelly, dragged through the streets, electrocuted, poisoned, or gassed – culling is nearly always a horrendous and painful death. The act of culling is also traumatizing for those community workers hired to do it.  

Not only is it inhumane, there are several reasons why culling is not an effective technique to manage stray dog populations: 


Culling has been found to be largely ineffective in controlling stray dog populations in the long term. It often leads to a temporary reduction in numbers, but the population tends to rebound due to the remaining dogs reproducing and new dogs moving into the area. This results in a cycle of repeated culling, which is both inhumane and unsustainable. 

Ethical concerns 

Culling is a controversial practice that raises ethical concerns related to animal welfare. Mass killing of stray dogs is considered inhumane, as it causes extreme suffering and distress to the animals. 


Culling can be costly, requiring resources for trapping, handling, and disposing of animals. These resources could be better utilized in implementing more sustainable and effective methods for stray dog population management, such as vaccination and sterilization programs. 

Risks to public health

Culling does not address the root cause of rabies, which is the lack of vaccination coverage in stray dog populations. Killing stray dogs does not eliminate the risk of rabies transmission to humans, as new dogs may move into the area or other animals may become infected. In fact, culling can disrupt the natural social structure of dog populations, potentially leading to increased aggression and higher risk of disease transmission. 

More effective, humane alternatives

There are more humane and effective alternatives to culling for managing stray dog populations and mitigating the risk of rabies spreading to humans. These include mass vaccination campaigns, sterilization programs to reduce reproduction rates, and community-based education and awareness initiatives to promote responsible pet ownership and safe interactions with stray dogs. 


The most effective way to eliminate rabies is through mass vaccination campaigns. Vaccinating at least 70% of the dogs in an area creates 'herd immunity', slowing the spread of rabies until it dies out. 

In addition to vaccinations, education and community engagement can help raise awareness about responsible pet ownership, safe interactions with stray dogs, bite prevention and the importance of rabies vaccination. 

Sterilization programs, including spaying and neutering, can help reduce the reproduction rates of stray dogs, which can contribute to population control over the long term. Sterilization programs can also help reduce aggression and territorial behaviour in dogs, leading to decreased risks of conflict with humans and other animals. Additionally, sterilization can have positive health benefits for individual dogs, such as reducing the risk of certain diseases. 

Adopting and rehoming programs are another way to help remove adoptable stray dogs from the streets and place them in loving homes. 

World Animal Protection / Emi Kondo 

Our work to create better lives for dogs 

We follow the International Companion Animal Management (ICAM) coalition’s dog population management methodology. It’s a full cycle of action, addressing the root causes of large free-roaming dog populations, which we use to help governments manage dogs humanely and to help communities live in harmony with dogs. 

The solutions we reach together can involve educating owners and communities, legislation, dog registration, vaccinating against rabies, sterilization, rehoming – or a combination of some or all of these. 

For decades, we ran campaigns to work with vets, communities, governments, and other nonprofit organizations to implement humane solutions in support of long-term and sustainable approaches to humane dog population management. 

Our successes include administering over 1 million rabies vaccinations to dogs all over the world, celebrity ambassadors speaking out in support of humane methods, advocating against inhumane culling, and lobbying for humane solutions. 

Our legacy work continues through our community partners, other nonprofit organizations, like Global Alliance for Rabies Control (GARC), and inter-governmental bodies like the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), who continue to fund programs and initiatives with the same long-term strategy. 

Explore some of our success stories: 

One of the lucky ones: meet Bruno


Bruno is one of many lucky dogs across the world getting vaccinations to live the life they deserve, thanks to our vaccination program.

Still a lucky dog, Bruno is going strong


Bruno's case represents the resiliency and strength that her community and its dogs posses.

The time is now to eliminate rabies in dogs


Global inter-governmental organizations have officially launched their framework to end dog-mediated rabies in humans by 2030 using our humane solutions.

The lives of millions of dogs are set to change for the better


The goal has been agreed to. The scene has been set. By 2030, rabies will be consigned to the history books without the use of cruel culling.

Romanian city promises to end needless killing of dogs after our global petition


60,622 people around the world have successfully urged Mayor Decebal Făgădău of Constanța to stop the city’s cruel 'catch and kill' policy for dogs, and introduce a humane dog population management policy instead

Ghana launches rabies prevention project


Our work to protect dogs is inspiring change in several countries, most recently in Ghana

Vaccinating against rabies in four African countries


Together, we're working to create better lives for dogs across Africa.

Celebrity supporters celebrate protecting vulnerable dogs


Ambassadors including Aliya-Jasmine Sovani, Mike Bradwell, Carla Collins, Liisa Winkler, f David Dixon, Karman Wong, Gurdeep Ahluwalia, Candice Batista, Anthony Farnell have supported the campaign to help spread the word.