Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Bow wow! BBMP posters to help public talk sense to stray dogs

Bow wow! BBMP posters to help public talk sense to stray dogs

As complaints of dog bites and canines giving motorists nightmares continue to pour in, the BBMP is going to unveil a campaign to make public aware of how to keep their encounters with the strays from going out of control, Shwetha S reports

Shwetha S

At sea over increasing instances of stray dog bites in the city, the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has hit upon a novel idea to check the menace: keep the canine-human encounters from going out of control by bridging the communication gap between the dramatis personae.
The Palike's brainwave comes in the backdrop of its efforts including the animal birth control (ABC) programme and cleaning up residential areas to keep the strays at bay having been not successful in preventing the dog bite cases.
The BBMP animal husbandry department has formulated a plan to create awareness among public on how to react when they encounter stray dogs, especially the ferocious ones.
The mainstay of the campaign will be propaganda based on posters and advertisements illustrating dog behaviour patterns in various situations and our right responses. As part of the propaganda, the Palike will be releasing hoardings and advertisements in the media.
G Parameshwara, BBMP's deputy director of animal husbandry division, told DNA that the initiative was being taken following repeated complaints from the public about increasing incidents of stray menace and dog bites.
"We are doing our best to control the dog menace through the ABC programme and administering anti-rabies vaccine to the strays. But complaints such as dogs giving the public anxious moments with their ferocious behaviour and chasing motorists are still pouring in. The new initiative, we hope, will go a long way in addressing such problems," he said.
Palike officials said the poster campaign will supplement the existing stray dog control programmes being carried out by the NGOs.
"Most of the time, it is the mother dogs that are involved in dog bite incidents. After giving birth to the pups, the mother remains aggressive for a few months and does everything from barking to growling to biting in the final instance to scare people from coming anywhere near her offspring," an official said.
The officials also pointed out that excited on seeing puppies, children innocuously try to pick them up drawing the mother's wrath.
"Our posters will illustrate what makes stray dogs angry and what people should not do to provoke them. The illustrations will be subtitled in both Kannada and English, giving tips to the general public on how to avert encounters with dogs from going out of hand," another official said.
The BBMP has finalised 12 different posters on the subject. "The posters have been designed based on the study of dog behaviour by NGOs and veterinarians," Parameshwara said.
The posters will play a prominent role in the BBMP's next package for controlling the stray dog menace. The package will also be larger in scale as it will involve 20 NGOs against 15 taking part in the current package.
"BBMP has taken up an innovative awareness campaign. I think this will be the best and the most effective way to create awareness among the public and also children. Most of the time, it's not dogs that create nuisance. Human behaviour too provokes them into reacting in a hostile way. So it's necessary for the public to understand the behavioural psychology of dogs," Dr Sheela Rao, honorary secretary of Compassion Unlimited Plus Action, said.
"I think it is for the first time that the BBMP is going creative on the issue and thinking out of the box. Conducting just ABC programme will not help in checking dog menace. Pictorial representation will be a more effective way to make people understand the behaviour of the dogs and this will surely bring down the complaints against dog menace gradually," Dr Suparna Ganguly, a veterinary doctor, said.

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