Thursday, June 10, 2010

Garden City going to Dogs

Garden City going to Dogs

As stray population jumps, BBMP seeks outside help to deal with the menace

PK Surendran

From Garden City to 'canine city', Bangalore has traversed in notoriety. Not for nothing. The stray population in Bangalore, says the 2007 census, is 3.27 lakh, a gallop from 70,980 in 2000. And today, the figure is anybody's guess. "Census is taken during day when not all dogs are active. So the figures could not be precise," says Dr Parviz Ahmed Piron, veterinarian and joint director, animal husbandry and animal welfare wing of BBMP.
Obviously, it is a gigantic problem that all talk about but few do anything about it. He agrees that the canine population is procreating fast in Bangalore. But the BBMP has no voluntary agency to deal with stray dogs in 11 of the 20 pockets. The city today has only three NGOs sterilising dogs — Compassion Unlimited Plus Action (CUPA), Karuna, and Animal Rights Foundation (ARF).
The Palike has just called for tender and two agencies from Maharashtra and two from Andhra Pradesh have applied. The city will thus be covered fully in a couple of months from now, he says.
"It is no pleasant job as you all know," says Dr Rajasekharappa, chief officer and administrator of CUPA. "Not many want to catch dogs, and they definitely don't like to be called 'dog catchers'. We often face shortage of skilled hands. BBMP pays them Rs515 per dog for the job which involves catching, sterilising, feeding them for a few days and releasing them. CUPA operates 900 sterilisations on street dogs every month. It has one centre each at Hebbal, RT Nagar and Koramangala.
Animal activists and nature lovers blame it on BBMP's unscientific and irregular way of collecting solid waste which stray dogs feed on. Dogs grow on garbage dumps. "Keep the streets clean and half the job is done," says Dr RN Madhu, veterinarian based in Yelahanka.
Dog bites in Bangalore make startling revelations. In 2009, the city recorded 20,555 dog bites of which 12,000 were involving strays and the remainder involving pet dogs. This is an improvement over 33,000 dog bites in 2005. Often, the bite victims find it hard to get vaccination for hunt: Animal activists blame it on BBMP's irregular way of collecting solid waste which stray dogs feed on


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