Taking note of multiple incidents of dog bites, the Maharashtra State Human Rights Commission (MSHRC) has pulled up Kulgaon Badlapur Municipal Corporation over the lack of birth control system for stray dogs. The Commission has recommended that the corporation immediately scale up its sterilisation efforts and ensure sufficient stock of anti-rabies vaccination.
The directions were issued on June 5 by bench headed by Justice M A Sayeed. The commission had issued a suo motu notice in 2018, observing that there were multiple media reports on dog bite incidents in Badlapur and Kulgaon. Since June 2018, when the matter was taken up by the state commission, the bench observed that Ambernath, Kalyan and Bhiwandi were also witnessing a rise in dog bite cases.
Animal rights activist Satyajit Burman, who appeared before the commission, said that data under Right to Information showed that between 2013 and 2018 there were 77,600 dog bite cases recorded in Ulhasnagar, 9,800 in Ambernath and 4,000 in Badlapur. The commission observed that municipal corporations spanning across Ambernath, Kalyan, Bhiwandi, Badlapur and Ulhasnagar have poor sterilisation system for stray dogs and were facing a shortage of anti-rabies vaccine.
“Kulgaon Badlapur Municipal Corporation does not even have a sterilisation committee to look into birth control of dogs since several years. The corporation is violating a 2017 Supreme Court order that had given responsibility of stray animal birth control to civic bodies,” Burman told The Indian Express. He added that there is a population “burst” of dogs, which were “attacking” humans in absence of enough food.
“Animal birth control programme is a viable solution to keep stray population in check. But in Bhiwandi, Badlapur and Kulgaon region, there is no centre to conduct sterilisation. Only Ambernath has a place to conduct the procedure. But no where the procedure is undertaken scientifically,” said Shakuntala Majumdar, who is attached with Thane Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA).
The commission also received multiple letters from Nerul-based Sea Wood Estate against dog feeders.