When it comes to UT's dog sterilisation programme, the city seems to be at losing end with more focus on vaccination than finding a permanent solution to the problem of stray dog menace.
According to a cost calculation done by School of Public Health of the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), the UT administration and the municipal corporation (MC) jointly spend around `40 lakh every year to purchase vaccination to give it to dog bite victims.
On the other hand, if the equal amount is spent on dog sterilisation for the next three years - total 1.2 crore - the stray dog menace can be controlled completely, claims the School of Public Health.
According to the ongoing study being carried out by Dr Tarundeep Singh, assistant professor of community medicine, PGIMER, the current percentage of stray dogs vaccinated in the city is 46.51%, while it is 93.7% for domestic dogs.
At present, there are around 12,000 stray dogs in Chandigarh.
Under the centrally sponsored Assistance to States/UTs for Control of Animal Diseases (ASCAD) Scheme, the animal husbandry department has been allocated `2 lakh to give free vaccination to dogs at the Sector-22 veterinary hospital.
"Each dose of vaccine costs `20. With the current estimated population of stray dogs in the city, the amount is sufficient to achieve more than the recommended 70% vaccination of dog population annually. However, dogs have to be brought to the dispensary for vaccination, for which enough manpower is not available,"the study found.
When it comes to sterilisation with proper procedure, five day aftercare, feed and vaccination of a stray dog costs around `1,000.
"With the average of 20 dogs a day - since you have around 220 working days in a year - you can sterilise 4,000 dogs in a year. So the menace can be brought under control over the next three years,"said Dr Singh.
The study found that in three years, 80% dogs could be vaccinated. "If we are able to achieve 80% dog vacation, the situation will be brought under complete control,"said Dr Singh.
According to a study conducted in 2013, in Chandigarh, total `45.72 lakh were spent to vaccinate bite cases by different animals. Of this, around `40 lakh alone was spent on dog bite cases.
When contacted, joint commissioner MC Rajeev Gupta accepted that the sterilisation programme had completely failed in the past several years. "But from April 6, we have started an aggressive sterilisation programme and are hopeful to complete it within the next two years,"he said.
KNOW THE FACTS
Stray dog population in city
2015: 12,000 around
(Source: Animal Population Census 2007, 2012)
· In India, about 20,000-30,000 deaths occur annually due to rabies.
Vaccination offered at
Sec 19, 38 dispensaries
In Chandigarh, the anti-rabies vaccination is offered free of cost by the municipal corporation in Civil Dispensaries of Sector 19 and Sector 38. Vaccines available in the market may cost from`100-300 per dose. Anti-rabies serum may cost up to `900 per patient, but is required only in category III bites.