Friday, August 28, 2009

Barks and bites dog Bangalore again

Barks and bites dog Bangalore again

Bangalore Bureau
Street canines mauling toddler once more brings to the fore a perennial problem
ABC only controls proliferation of dogs, not their aggression

‘We can identify a dog that is a chaser and biter, only if people help us’

Bangalore: Stray dogs mauling 18-month-old Rehana and seriously injuring her on Wednesday has brought to fore once again the stray dog menace.

With many Bangaloreans questioning the efficacy of Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike’s (BBMP) Animal Birth Control programme, there is a need for a long lasting solution to end the problem.

According to the 2007 census, there were more than 1.83 lakh stray dogs in the city. Residents of many areas complain that despite complaints, the civic authority had not addressed the problem.

Viji Ramamurthy, who lives in Indiranagar, said her neighbourhood was forced to live with the nuisance of street dogs’ incessant barking, especially at night.

“We are sometimes afraid to step out of our homes. Parents and guardians are forced to accompany their children out at all times when they go out. All our complaints have fallen on deaf ears,” she said.

The ambitious ABC programme was nothing but waste of public funds, alleged B.S. Srinivas, general secretary, Konankunke Kshemabhivruddhi Sanghagala Okkoota. He said that sterilisation or vaccination did not prevent a dog from attacking or biting. “The argument that it will prevent dog bites is foolish. In my opinion, culling is the only solution,” he said. G. Ramamurthy from the Coordinating Committee of Resident Welfare Associations of Indiranagar, alleged that the ABC programme was not being executed properly.

“Neither is there any transparency nor accountability on the part of the civic authority and non-governmental organisations implementing the programme,” he said.

The problem was aggravated when the contracts of the NGOs expired. The BBMP called for fresh tenders but was unable to finalise them as the NGOs demanded Rs. 600 for every sterilisation.

Only one van
To make matter worse, sources in the BBMP told The Hindu that it has only one dog catching van at its disposal. There were six people in the dog squad, all on the verge of retirement. Sources said that the civic authority’s control rooms received at least 10 complaints about dog menace from residents across the eight zones.

Meanwhile, the NGOs claim that new work orders to administer the Animal Birth Control (ABC) programme, which would be given to them on August 31, would decide the course of programme for the next few months.

A.N. Subbaiah, vice-president of Karuna, one of the NGOs commissioned by the BBMP to carry out the ABC programme, said that in a meeting between the palike and NGOs held over a week ago, the new rates were fixed at Rs. 500 to sterilise a male dog and Rs. 520 for a female.

Sanobar Barucha from Compassion Unlimited Plus Action (CUPA) said the problem of street dogs was a three-way effort, which involved NGOs, BBMP and the public.

“We have to be able to identify the particular dog that is a chaser or a biter, and that can only be done if people in the locality help us,” she said.

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