Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Stray dog menace: barking up the wrong tree?

Stray dog menace: barking up the wrong tree?

The Hindu

No decrease in dog bite cases in city despite fewer number of dogs; animal rights activists, citizens differ over figure

# Victoria Hospital alone gets about 100 cases of dog bites a day
# No incidence of rabies in the city in the recent past, claims BMP

Bangalore: Returning home at night on a two-wheeler or leaving for work in the early hours is a nightmare for many in the city.

You can be chased and, often at times, bitten by a pack of stray dogs.

Those who press their accelerators to avoid the snapping canine jaws have often met with accidents as the bike hurtles over road humps or jerks over craters.

Hundreds of men, women and children become victims of dog bites in the city every day. Victoria Hospital alone gets about 100 cases of dog bites a day, says N.S. Madhusudana, Head, World Health Organisation collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Rabies, Department of Neurovirology, NIMHANS.

B.J. Mahendra, President of Association for Prevention and Control of Rabies in India (APCRI), says the Kempe Gowda Institute of Medical Sciences and Hospital gets more than 100 dog bite cases a month.

Gowramma, a dog bite victim, said she was bitten when she was emptying the waste at a garbage bin near her house in Pipe Line, Seshadripuram a few days ago. "I had to throw the bin on the dogs head. It was holding me by my calf muscle," she said. Girish (21), a resident of Gavipuram, was parking his vehicle to attend a phone call when a dog "appeared from nowhere" and bit his leg.

Roopa, a resident of Tilaknagar, said that a stray dog bit her daughter, when she was on her way to school.

"My daughter is now terrified whenever she sees a dog," she said. She blamed the BMP for the dog menace.

"If the BMP does its job properly, the problem will not be so severe," she said.

T. Paramasivan of St Johns Road, said in his e-mail to The Hindu that dogs have spoiled the stretch from MEG Officers Mess in Promenade Road to Netaji Road and Spencer Road, once so serene. He wants immediate action by the BMP.


V.K. Panicker of Balajinagar wrote in to complain: "Throughout the night the nuisance created by fighting dogs is unbearable."

His complaints have gone unattended. Animal rights activists have a different take on the matter. They argue that the "menace" is under control. Most others simply do not agree.

Animal rights activists and Bangalore Mahanagara Palike authorities say there has been no incidence of rabies in the city in the recent past. Dr. Mahendra, however, says that the statistics do not reflect the real magnitude of the problem. Since rabies is not a notifiable disease, it is not binding on private hospitals to report it to authorities. Dr. Madhusudana, who was actively involved in the nation-wide survey on rabies, says about three to four cases are reported every year in Bangalore. Dr. Mahendra said that though the dog population in the city may have decreased because of the Animal Birth Control, the rate of dog bites has not.

On his part, Prakash Reddy, Deputy Director, Animal Husbandry (BMP), says dogs from CMC areas and nearby States come into the city limits. The number of dogs in slums is also high as dwellers keep dogs to secure their locality.

Fund crunch

The NGOs involved in the implementation of ABC programme, according to honorary vice-president of CUPA, Suparna Ganguly, are facing fund crunch due to the delay in releasing reimbursements by the BMP. NGO groups have no option of lowering the targets set for the month in terms of sterilisation or re-vaccinations even though the funds do not come on time, she added.

As a measure to strengthen the ABC programme, it is also necessary to improve public participation.

Despite creating awareness among the residents, the public makes impossible demands on the NGOs, and these demands are outside the purview of the project, she added.

Another area of concern for NGOs, Ms. Ganguly pointed out, was that of the displaced animals that are picked up from one area are being let off in another. Each agency including the BMP-Animal Husbandry Department, along with CUPA, Karuna, ARF, Krupa have to strictly monitor the locations of catching and release, to make the animal birth control totally foolproof, as a method of control, she added.


At Thursday, December 21, 2006 at 8:32:00 AM GMT+5:30, Anonymous Amit M said...

Neuter the healthy stray dogs and kill the rest in an aggressive campaign. If any animal rights activits have an issue with that, they should try riding a bike on Bangalore by-lanes and try falling down, or try watching their friends in hospital because a damn dog couldn't make up its mind which side of the road it wanted to be on.

At Monday, February 2, 2009 at 8:11:00 AM GMT+5:30, Anonymous Anonymous said...

dogs can sense who is a threat to them and who is not. people like you, show so much of anger towards these creatures , isnt it obvious why they attack you . even i go on the road in the middle of the night , things like this never happens to me.

At Monday, May 25, 2009 at 8:41:00 AM GMT+5:30, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When addressing the topic of "Dog Menace", We only seem to consider strays. What about the numerous domestic dogs that incessantly bark through out the Day/night because they are tied up in their yards? Despite many requests to the dog owners, no effort is made to avoid the nuisance. Don't we have any authorities who can fine the owners? Don't we have any laws to penalise careless dog-owners?
Sunita Menon.


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