Canine lovers in the city have blamed the rising number of dog bites to human apathy and intolerance. They say that if humans are friendlier towards the species, dog bite cases will drop automatically.
“At present, the puppy season is on and some people try to steal them to dump them outside the city. Naturally, the mother becomes aggressive. It is just following its protective mother’s instinct,” said Sadhwi Sondhi, from the NGO called Red Paws Rescue.
The North Municipal Corporation, in its latest report, said that there had been 30,608 cases of dog bites in 2012-2013, compared to 17,000 cases in 2011-2012. The corporation reported that despite sterilisation drives, the number of dogs in its jurisdiction stood at more than 1.35 lakh.Manta Sindhu from a street dog rescue agency called Angel Eyes, who works closely with dog sterilisation programmes, said the stray dog population would definitely come down in the future.
“The sterilisation programme takes time to show results. Many years ago, the population of dogs in the city was 5 lakh, but a 2009 census put it at 2.6. The reason we feel there are many dogs in the city is because the sterilisation process does not kill dogs,” she said.
She said that in areas where people were friendly towards dogs, dog bite cases were low. “There are many cases of people harassing dogs, who then become aggressive in self-defence. In areas such as Pandara Road and Khan Market, residents are friendlier towards dogs and there are hardly any dog bite cases,” she added.
Shekhar Ghosh, a dog trainer who feeds 35-40 dogs every day in Mayur Vihar, says another reason why there are a lot of stray dogs in the city is because of the garbage menace.