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Project information

Protecting the lives of 100,000 dogs

Thousands of innocent dogs are suffering agonising deaths by stoning or brutal beating in Sierra Leone. This slaughter is driven by a fear of dog bites and rabies. Our project will save and improve the lives of 100,000 dogs in Freetown by controlling rabies and changing negative attitudes.

January 2017 - December 2020

Charity information: World Animal Protection

World Animal Protection logo
  • Need


    Sierra Leone has Africa's densest stray dog population. Compounded by 10 years of civil war and the recent Ebola crisis, 100,000 starving, sick and injured dogs roam Freetown. As this number rises, so too do cases of dog-bites and human deaths from rabies. People are afraid and dogs are stoned or beaten to death with sticks in a desperate attempt to protect loved ones from this deadly virus. With only 4 vets in the country and a lack of government resources, the situation is at breaking point.


    Our goal is to stop the suffering of dogs in Sierra Leone. It begins with a pilot project to manage stray dogs in Freetown, focused on education, registration, and mass dog vaccination against rabies. By demonstrating that dogs aren’t a threat or a nuisance, we’ll help protect them from violence too – helping create a world where people and animals can live side by side. We will work with the Government to create a sustainable and humane plan that can be replicated across Sierra Leone.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Save and improve the lives of 100,000 dogs in Freetown by December 2020.


    » Vaccinate 70% of the stray dog population of Freetown against rabies, which creates 'herd immunity'. Annual vaccination rounds will maintain immunity.
    » Build a re-homing centre for Freetown's stray dog population to be housed and eventually adopted.

    What success will look like

    We will report on the number of vaccinated dogs. Vaccinating 70% of dogs in an area ensures control of the rabies virus. We will report on the development of the re-homing centre.

    Aim 2

    Improve dog welfare by ensuring that people understand the benefits of Responsible Dog Ownership.


    » Deliver mass awareness raising campaign to dog owners through various media about how to treat dogs and how this benefits them and their communities.
    » Deliver an education programme to school children in 79 schools which includes dog bite prevention, crucial for protecting children against rabies.

    What success will look like

    We will report on the instances of dog bites, number of human rabies cases and the number of dogs inhumanely killed. We will also show changes in attitudes through case studies.

    Aim 3

    Support the government in responding to this issue to ensure sustainable solutions are adopted.


    » Lead on draft and implementation of a National Rabies Elimination Plan which includes humane and sustainable solutions to managing stray dogs.
    » Intensive training of 30 paravets in areas such as mass vaccination, sterilisation and dog handling to increase Sierra Leone's limited vet capacity.

    What success will look like

    We will ensure that a National Rabies Elimination Plan is in place by the end of the pilot project and that 30 paravets are trained by December 2018.

  • Impact


    The project will protect and improve the lives of thousands of dogs in Sierra Leone by removing the need for brutal killing triggered by fear. It will help humans and the dogs that are so vital to them to co-exist and protect each other, improving how dogs are cared for to ensure happier, healthier lives. It will also bring about permanent changes in policy and law that will make inhumane culling illegal. We will demonstrate this change through stories, videos and updates on the data we collect.


    The changing political situation in Sierra Leone over the next four years could impact our work. Our strategy to mitigate this risk is to institutionalise our approach, ensuring it is part of a legal process and therefore not affected by political changes. We will work with institutions rather than individual politicians and have formed a taskforce comprising numerous institutions and bodies to ensure stability.


    Information on the impact of donors’ gifts is communicated through our supporter magazine, website, social media and e-newsletter. Included will be key updates, achievements, photos and stories from the field. If donors require any other form of reporting we will do all can to meet requests.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £625,282

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £222,374 Vaccination campaign Vaccinate 70% of Freetown's dog population annually for 2 years. Registration of all dogs
      £183,193 Re-homing centre Build a re-homing centre for Freetown's stray dogs
      £74,273 Awareness raising campaign Deliver mass awareness raising campaign to communities promoting Responsible Dog Ownership
      £38,203 Education campaign Deliver education programme in 79 schools to promote Responsible Dog Ownership
      £107,239 Supporting Government Work with the Government to build capacity, train paravets and implement a national action plan
  • Background


    This project will be delivered in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Freetown has the largest stray population of dogs in Africa, which has led to the rapid spread of rabies and the local population viewing dogs as a threat to safety leading to the abuse and killing of many of them. The Ebola outbreak in 2015 doubled the number of stray dogs on the street and the situation has reached crisis point, with both humans and dogs dying from disease.


    The primary beneficiaries of this project will be 100,000 dogs in Freetown at risk of rabies and other diseases. Without this intervention, many will be brutally beaten and stoned to death. Rabies vaccinations are extremely costly and scarce, so the humans who live alongside dogs will also benefit from the elimination of rabies. As this pilot will form a model which will be replicated across Sierra Leone, the lives of thousands more dogs and people will be positively impacted in the long-term.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    World Animal Protection has over 30 years’ experience working with governments and communities across the globe to assess their problems in managing stray dog populations and to support them in implementing sustainable, humane solutions. Between 2011 and 2015 we administered 1 million vaccinations against rabies. We have a strong network and history in Sierra Leone, working with Sierra Leone Animal Welfare Society (SLAWS) to sterilize and deworm 20,000 stray dogs in Freetown.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Emily Mudoga, Campaign Manager

    Emily, a vet, leads a passionate team of dog lovers and is absolutely dedicated to improving the lives of dogs in Sierra Leone and across Africa.

    Nick De Souza, Director Of Programmes In Africa

    Nick has 30 years of experience in the field of animal welfare and has an intimate working knowledge of Sierra Leone.

    Pankaj KC, International Head Of Campaign

    Pankaj leads our global Better Lives for Dogs campaign and brings over 11 years of campaigning, lobbying and project management experience.


could pay for 50 dogs to be vaccinated, removing the threat of rabies to keep them safe and healthy.

In the past, local people would not even have considered that poisoning dogs was wrong, and would have done nothing to stop it. Now, thanks to our work with World Animal Protection, they know better and have a greater respect for animal sentience – cruelty is no longer accepted as a norm.

Mauricio Santafe, Veterinarian, Paraiso de Mascota, Cali, Colombia