Gambian people own the dogs seen roaming the streets,
and they are generally poorly treated (or simply ignored)
because touching them is seen by
Muslims as an unclean act.
Cats are similar as they are rarely kept as pets, gangs
of them can be seen hanging around the various hotels,
begging for food. It is unwise to pet stray dogs and
unfamiliar cats due to the risk of rabies, not to mention
the more likely risk of contracting a disease like ringworm.
An interesting fact about cats is that their local name,
"muus" also means wise.
Beach dogs have an insecure life in The Gambia. While
the tourist season lasts they are put up with around
most of the ocean side bars and get a little water,
food and maybe worming medication from anxious tourists.
central feeding point for cats is at the Kombo Beach
Hotel called the Cat Cafe. Some of these people sometimes
contact a charity called GambiCats which has been in
working in The Gambia since 1998. They organise humane
neutering or vet treatment for these stray animals and
are concerned about improving their general welfare.
Off-season however, the local treatment of dogs is very
different. The animals drift away from the beach as
there are no longer easy pickings. However, cats tend
to fair a little better as most houses tolerate feral
cats whom which leftovers from lunch are frequently
fed to. This is often dictated by the Islamic custom
which says that one should never throw away food.
local practice is not to neuter cats and doges but to
leave them to wonder freely while being subjected to
occasional stoning, poisoning, becoming victims of road
kill, bad health and starvation.
The government department who care charged with controlling
the numbers of dogs and cats is the Abuko based Livestock
Services Departments or DLS for short.
Another notable organisation in animal welfare is the
Association for the Welfare of Animals in The Gambia
(AWAG). It was established in 1999 as a registered animal
charity whose aims are threefold.
(1) To promote better quality of care for animals and
to alleviate suffering where necessary by providing
veterinary assistance and through local education programmes.
(2) To raise official awareness about the plight of
animals and their local environment.
(3) To participate in the improvement of better legislation
and assisting in its local enforcement.