As the city faces a serious stray dog problem, various solutions like mass sterilisations, creation of dog pounds, and killing of rabid dogs have been suggested. But experts say there is a rule countering every possible solution.
Officials of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation, veterinary experts, advocates — all are of the opinion that unless the Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules, 2001, are changed, the stray dog menace cannot be checked.
“Mass sterilisation is the only solution. We should be sterilising and vaccinating about 700 stray dogs every month, but the SPCA and PFA have failed to meet the target of 300 stray dogs in a month,” said Rajiv Gupta, Joint Commissioner of the Municipal Corporation.
So where is the problem?
According to the Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules, if the MC thinks it is expedient to control the street dog population, it shall be incumbent upon them to sterilise and immunise street dogs with the participation of animal welfare associations (AWOs), private individuals and the local authority.
But the SPCA has only two veterinarians and PFA has only one, which makes mass sterilisation of street dogs almost an impossible task.“Even if the MC wants to involve private practitioners in mass sterilisations, we cannot because MC is forced to work in coordination with NGOs like SPCA and PFA,’’ said Gupta.
He said the MC could not do anything about the problem of dog-bites because, after vaccination and sterilisation, the dogs have to be released in the same area from where these were caught.
Precisely for this reason, creation of dog pounds or dog shelters makes no sense. “Unlike cattle, MC cannot keep stray dogs in shelters,” Gupta explained. Besides, the rules also say that dogs from different areas cannot be kept in one kennel.
“Only one lot of dogs shall be brought for sterilisation, immunisation at one dog kennel and these dogs shall be from one locality. Two lots from different areas shall not be mixed at the same dog pound or dog kennel,” the rules say.
Further, the rules says that “a furious or dumb rabid dog’’ should be kept in an isolation ward until it dies naturally.
Dr C B Singh, a veterinarian, wondered, “Why one cannot kill a dog if it has rabies? After all, whose life is more precious: a dog’s or a human being’s?’’
Kunal Malwani, an advocate who has filed a petition in the High Court on the subject, said, “We have filed a writ petition asking for creation of dog pounds in the city. We want the rules to be amended. Keeping stray dogs in shelters, just like cattle, can solve the problem of stray dogs and there is nothing inhuman about it.”
MC panel: Anti-rabies serum should be provided for Rs 50 per vaccine
The Finance and Contract Committee of the Municipal Corporation on Thursday decided that anti-rabies serum should be provided to victims of dog-bite for Rs 50 per vaccine.
The committee sanctioned the purchase of serum on ESIC Central rate contract for one year. Initially, the serum will be purchased for a period of three months.
Around 40 dog-bite cases are reported every day at the Anti-Rabic Dispensary in Sector 19. At present, the dispensary is supposed to provide the vaccine at a rate of Rs 100, although it often does not have stock.
The committee also gave its approval to the purchase of two additional vans for catching dogs. At present, there is only one dog-catching van while, as per the comprehensive management plan for stray dogs, there should be three.
The committee’s decisions are binding on the corporation. The issue of stray dog menace will come up for discussion at the meeting of the corporation’s general house on Friday.
In other decisions, the committee approved setting up of a civic complaint centre and strengthening of the monitoring system for registering online complaints.
In a decision which will substantially push up the cost of holding functions on lawns adjoining hotels and restaurants, the rate of booking of the open spaces was raised to Rs 5 per sq feet from Rs 2 per square feet.
The committee also gave its approval to explore the necessity of having security checks at all entry points to the MC building.
An agenda item for certain development works, including fixing of tiles in Sector 46, upkeep of the dumping ground at Daddumajra and repair of streetlights, was approved.