Written by Pallavi Singhal
THERE SEEMS to be no respite from the canine fury in Panchkula. The number of dog bite cases in the city is all set to double from last year. The Panchkula Civil Hospital received as many as 2,839 cases of dog bite until July 14 this year as compared to 2,819 cases in the whole of 2018. A whopping 177 cases of dog bite were registered in the first two weeks of July alone.
While MC claims that it is working towards curbing the population of street dogs by appointing an agency, M/s Jayant Vet House, for sterilisation of the canines, the cases of dog bite tell a different story.
DCP Kamaldeep Goyal joined the list of aggrieved on July 3 when he fractured his leg while trying to save himself from a stray dog attack. The incident happened in Sector 4, where he had gone to visit his parents. He said, “I am a victim in this case and would like some concrete steps to be taken to control these dogs. Stray dogs are a big menace. The problem exists across the Tricity.”
MC Commissioner Rajesh Jogpal, when contacted, said, “I am not free to take calls any time. Come and visit me in my office after taking an appointment.”
The Civil Hospital, Sector 6, Panchkula, has put up special posters to guide people coming in with dog bites. A doctor at the emergency ward said, “We get almost 15 people per day who have been bitten. We first wash the wounds thoroughly and then vaccinate them.’’
With the dog bite cases going through the roof, the hospital is running short of anti-rabies vaccines. CMO Yogesh Kumar admits there has been some problem with the supplier of the vaccination. “Lesser number of vaccines are coming in. We are trying our level best to treat all patients who come here. We have even asked for medication from nearby hospitals to treat such people in a few instances. The supply will hopefully get back to normal in a few days.’’
Sources said that in a few cases, patients had to be sent back when vaccinations could not be arranged despite best efforts.
A person bitten by a dog has to to get four injections: one on the day of the bite, the second three days later, the third after a week and the fourth after 28 days. In all, it is almost a 40-day process, and the victim cannot miss any shot. But scarcity of anti-rabies vaccine is making this difficult.
Shiksha, 65, a resident of Sector 15, was bitten by a dog on June 20. On July 18, as she walked in for her last vaccination, accompanied by her daughter-in-law, she groused, “Kya kar sakte hain, paidal nikalna hi mushkil ho gaya hai (What can we do? It has become difficult to move out on foot).” She then recounted the incident saying she was returning from the market one noon, when a group of dogs which were fighting amongst themselves bit her as she walked past them.
Gurjeet, 24, who came in the hospital on July 18 for his first vaccination, said he was coming back from his morning walk when a pack of stray dogs encircled him and one of them bit him. He then went around from hospital to hospital in search of medication which he finally found at the civil hospital. “Something desperately needs to be done about these dogs. I have been going around from authority to authority to get some help but to no avail. I think I’ll have to take it upon myself to sort out this menace.”
Gurjeet, who went for his second vaccine on Sunday, returned saying that the vaccines were out of stock. He was further advised to get it from outside. Gurjeet said he searched for the vaccination at various pharmacies but could not find it anywhere.
Geeta Ram, mother of 9-year-old Chandni, recounts how her daughter was just giving out her leftover meat to the strays when one of them bit her.
The anti-rabies vaccine, which is needed by the victims four times, is only being provided once (on their first visit) by the Civil Hospital, Sector 6, as the stock of the vaccination is at an all-time low. Sources at the hospital said they only have stocks for two more months before they run out of the vaccine. With the number of dog-bite cases increasing and the stock of vaccinations decreasing, they are forced to send people back. Members of Citizen’s Welfare Association, Panchkula, have written letters to the Prime Minister, Union Health Minister, Haryana chief minister and health minister, requesting them to intervene in the matter and ensure smooth supply of the anti-rabies vaccine but to no avail.