The Pune Cantonment Board (PCB) is facing a peculiar situation. Even as some individual groups are taking care of stray dogs by rescuing and even engaging private doctors to sterilise them, there seem to be no takers for the tender floated by the board to catch, sterilise and immunise the stray dog population in the cantonment area.
When a tender to sterilise the stray dog population was floated for the sixth time on December 16, 2019, not a single firm responded. The issue was also taken up at last week’s General Body meeting, where PCB CEO Amit Kumar said the board had liaised with the Kirkee Cantonment Board to avail of the services of the KCB’s agency.
The PCB has been facing this problem — no firm responding to its tender on stray dogs — for more than two years,
Kumar told The Indian Express there had been frequent complaints from residents in the cantonment area, he said.
“We are hoping for a better response to the tender as the board has even proposed to increase the charges to approximately Rs 1,200 for sterilising one dog,” said Vinod Mathurawala, elected member of the PCB.
Last year, a total of 53 persons with dog bites were treated at the out-patient department of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Cantonment General Hospital between July and December, said Dr V D Gaikwad, resident medical officer. In another step to resolve the issue, the board, in association with Blue Cross Society, has been treating stray dogs at the shelter run by the NGO at Mundhwa.
But, according to Ajit Shinde, general manager at Blue Cross Society, the NGO was unable to handle the care of additional dogs at its centre, given the already-heavy workload.
Animal rights activists, however, pointed out the lack of a dog pound in the cantonment area. “If there is an animal shelter or pound in place, then stray, lost or abandoned animals… can be kept there and rehabilitated,” said Prachi Sharma, the founder-coordinator of the NIBM-Undri-Wanowrie (NUW) group of 50-60 volunteers who work towards rescue, rehabilitation and sterilisation of animals.
“We rescue animals which have been hurt or sick and get them treated by qualified veterinary doctors. We have also tied up for surgeries and post-op care with the Canine Control and Care (CCC) organisation at Bhugaon…,” said Sharma. She said the group was not part of a registered NGO, but simply a group of committed individuals working towards the betterment of animal lives.
Meanwhile, health inspectors with the PCB said the area didn’t have its own dog pound as initially, the work of sterilisation was done by the Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals at Bhawani Peth. Later, an agreement was inked with the Blue Cross Society to treat and sterilise dogs at its shelter in Mundhwa.
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