If you’re roaming through the streets of any city in the Netherlands, it is rare that you will find any stray dogs along your way.
It’s very common for Dutch people to have dogs as pets, but have you ever wondered why there’s not a stray furry friend in sight? 🐕
What is it?
Starting in 2016, the Dutch government managed to clear its streets of stray dogs by rescuing them through the PSVIR method, which means Picking, Sterilising, Vaccinating, Identifying, and Returning.
They have also raised taxes for store-bought dogs which has encouraged more and more people to adopt. Expect many schattige honden when visiting Dutch houses!
The rescue mission to get these dogs off the streets was definitely a team effort! While it didn’t happen overnight, many new laws and regulations were set in place to rescue those adorable pooches 🐶.
Sadly, this also means you can’t just snatch the cutest pup in sight off the streets anymore!
It wasn’t all the government’s doing either. Here are several groups that were involved in saving and protecting these dogs:
- Dutch Animal Protection Agency (Dierenbescherming)
- Dutch Dog Protection Agency (Hondenbescherming)
- Sophia Association (Sophia Vereniging)
- Dutch political ‘Party for the Animals’ (Partij voor de Dieren)
- Animal ambulance (Dierenambulance)
- Associations and animal welfare
Many organisations and protection services have raised awareness for stray dogs and defended the rights of these animals by providing them with shelter 🏠.
For example, the government has organised many sterilisation days to spay/neuter pets to avoid an increase of stray animals in general.
Why do they do it?
The simplest answer is the fact that the Dutch people care a lot about their animals! Many cultural factors played a role in sweeping stray dogs off the streets.
Culturally, the Dutch are very empathetic people and this attitude extends to dogs as well!
This mindset makes the Dutch want to take care of their dogs and avoid seeing them roam the streets. There is so much care for these animals, it makes us wonder when they will feel the same for international students!
Historically speaking, the Dutch have always been head over heels for their pet dogs. The Netherlands has a really tight-knit relationship with their honden.
In the 19th century, dogs were used as a signal of status for their owners: rich people owned dogs for sport or simply as pets while the poorer population owned them to help with their work 🦮.
Why is it quirky?
As an international, I definitely find it a bit odd that there are no stray dogs at all! While it is rare to find them, it is extremely common to spot pet dogs everywhere in the Netherlands. Cafes, bars, malls, shopping streets — Pet dogs are everywhere! (and we love it).
READ MORE | Getting a pet in the Netherlands: the ultimate guide
Should you join in?
We definitely encourage residents to adopt! Even though shelters are better places to live than on the streets, a loving home is where these dogs belong.
If you are an animal lover but not necessarily looking to get a pet in the Netherlands, here are five alternative ways to help:
- Spread awareness about the issue with others
- Donate to local charities
- Join fundraising events for stray animals
- Support a stray animal foundation
- Participate in the upcoming World Stray Animals Day, which will take place on April 4 2022!
Dogs are amazing creatures who deserve our tender love and care! It is great that we can look after them without necessarily keeping them as pets.
What do you think of this Dutch quirk? Have you experienced it? Tell us in the comments below!
I, personally have a mixed breed Saluki and love her so much ! She a rescue and I adopted her 🥰
I am lebanese too, but love abroad and I lebanon you also see many dogs wandering the streets, specially now after the economy crise.
I hope the organisations there will help them to find a home .
Thank you for your post!
Hope it will go international
I worked at a shelter for years LONG before 2016 and even then there weren’t stray dogs. A runaway now and then, but the story of picking the dogs off the streets, neuter them and put them back is total nonsense. They do that with cats in some areas but absolutely NOT with dogs. We just care too much about our dogs and we don’t let them just roam around on their own. The moment a ‘stray’ dog is noticed people will try catching it and return it to the owner or bring it to a shelter where they will find a new home for it. And no, Dutch shelters aren’t kill shelters. Most of the dogs are being rehomed within weeks, sometimes even days.