Even though the summer is yet to set in, dog-bite cases in the city have already reached an alarming number. The two dispensaries of Sector 19 and Sector 38 being run by the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation are receiving more than 400 cases of dog bite a month. These are apart from the victims receiving treatment at other government and private hospitals of the city.
According to UT animal husbandry department’s survey, there were around 8,000 stray dogs in the city in 2012 and the number crossed 13,000 in 2015 as per the rough estimates, meaning a 10.4 per cent population growth rate in the number of these canines, which is almost 10 times of the population growth rate of the country. It is a clear indicator that sterilisation measures taken under Animal Birth Control (ABC) have not been sufficient so far.
Bitten without provocation
Rinku, who works at an auto repair shop in Industrial Area, Phase II, was walking home from work when he was bitten by a pack of stray dogs at Ram Darbar on Sunday. He recounts, “I did not even notice them. I was just walking quietly when all of a sudden they came from behind and one of them bit my leg. Had I not screamed, they would have all attacked me.”
The youngster, who is traumatised, shudders as he says, “They attacked me without any provocation.’’ He’s got two injections at the Sector 19 dispensary out of his own pocket and has to get five more.
Thirteen-year-old Happy, who was here from Ludhiana to meet his grandmother on Holi, received a nasty surprise when he along with six other children were attacked by street dogs in a park in Sector 47. ‘’I was bitten on my left thigh. The other kids playing with me also suffered dog bites,’’ says the lad, who is taking his vaccinations costing Rs 300 each from Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32.
“He hasn’t stepped out ever since he was bitten,’’ says his grandmother.
Sixteen-year-old Shivani, who works as a household help, was bitten by one of the two stray dogs that got after her when she was walking to her employer’s house in Sector 23. “The same dog has bitten so many people, including my friend, but no one cares,’’ complains Shivani, who hasn’t got any vaccinations because she can’t afford them.
A couple of months ago, a leading author got bitten while taking a walk in Sector 18, where a child was mauled to death by a pack of stray dogs in July last year.
‘350 sterilisations a month’
But officials continue to claim that canines don’t bite until provoked. M S Kamboj, superintendent, slaughter house, says, ‘’Street dogs and people have to stay together so the only way out is to be aware how to react when a stray is around.’’
The official says 13,500 stray dogs have been sterilised from 2015 until now. “Every month, 350 stray dogs are sterilised in Chandigarh,’’ Kamboj says. The MC is paying Rs 1,079 per dog to a Madhya Pradesh-based firm which is undertaking sterilisation. After sterilisation, the dogs are kept for five days and then released from where they were picked up.
Last July, Vinod Vashisht, president, Government Houses Residents Welfare Society, Sector 22, had written to MC Commissioner K K Yadav, putting a question mark on the sterilisation project.
He had suggested putting ‘nyon collars’ on the sterilised dogs as per the ABC Rules making it easier for them to be identified by the people concerned. At present, the agency is putting ‘vee notch cut’ in one of the ears of the sterilised dogs, which is not visible from afar.
Vashisht had also stated that the MC is not following the rules.