The stray dog sterilisation programme conducted by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) attracted criticism from corporators across party lines. The corporators said the number of strays had been growing for the past three years, with BMC data estimating over 1 lakh stray dogs in Mumbai. The corporators have questioned the civic administration over the Rs 10 crore spent on dog sterilisation over the past two decades, calling it a “sheer waste of public money”. They have demanded that the dog sterilisation programme be audited.
According to the dog census carried out in January 2014, of the 95,172 dogs in the city then, 25,933 stray dogs were not sterilised. Of them 14,671 were male and 11,262 were female. Taking into account the dog reproduction rate, the BMC data claims that the number of stray dogs in the city presently could be over 1 lakh. “In order to control the stray dog population, the Animal Welfare Board (AWB) of India had said 30 per cent of stray dogs should be sterilised. Keeping that in account, more than 30,000 dogs are supposed to be sterilised annually considering a target of 1.02 lakh stray dogs in the next three years,” said a senior BMC official.
According to civic officials, more than 2.80 lakh stray dogs have been sterilised and immunised since 1998 with the help of different NGOs, which cost the civic body Rs 10 crore. Despite this, there are still more than one lakh stray dogs that have not been sterilised. Meanwhile, the BMC has revealed plans to spend another Rs 15.56 crore on sterilisation of 1.02 lakh stray dogs under a dog sterilisation programme that began in April 2017 and will end in March 2020. “The sterilisation programme has already begun. The situation is very tricky and it is too early to call the programme a failure,” the official said, citing that the team faces problems from some locals during the sterilisation programme as they allegedly hide these stray dogs when the BMC is tracing them.
“The corporators must help us create awareness among residents and talk to people in their respective wards to not hide and help the stray dogs escape,” added the official.
Daksha Patel, BJP corporator from Malad, called the civic sterilisation programme a “big sham”. “Many times when the dogs run away, the BMC never tries to catch them. We have seen this happening a number of times. Besides, the dog sterilisation centres are unhygienic and do not meet the standards they are required to. We have complained about this a number of times. Hence, the dog sterilisation programme should be audited.”
Congress corporator from Bandra Asif Zakeria said, “Looking at the increasing number of stray dogs, the huge sum paid by the BMC to NGOs to sterilise the dogs is far from justified. The population of stray dogs should have reduced by now, which is not the case.”
Shiv Sena corporator from Andheri Rajul Patel said, “The sterilisation programme has not shown the results as claimed by the BMC. The city still has so many stray dogs that are not sterilised and in many areas, their population is extremely high. We often get complaints from people in our wards about the nuisance of these stray dogs.”