Residents of a Kerala town killed 40 stray dogs on Thursday, a day after a 90-year-old man was mauled to death by a pack of canines, prompting the government to order sterilisation of an estimated 2.7-lakh feral dog population in the state.
The government also rejected Union minister Maneka Gandhi’s suggestion to book people killing stray dogs, blamed for the death of at least 10 people in the state. The killing of dogs by angry people have set off a war of words between the government and Gandhi, a known animal lover.
The nonagenarian died at the Thiruvananthapuram Medical College after he was attacked by strays at Varkala while sleeping on the portico of his house on Wednesday.
He was the 10th victim of stray dogs. Though police rushed to the spot after the killings, locals prevented any arrest. The carcasses of the dogs were later displayed at the local market.
The state government ordered implementation of animal birth control measures on a war-footing and asked local bodies to recruit enough people to carry out the programme effectively.
Lack of enough veterinary surgeons, trained dog handlers and poor infrastructure at hospitals are crippling the ABC programme in Kerala. Majority of local bodies are yet to switch over from traditional sterilization method to keyhole surgery, a standard procedure followed globally.
Maneka had said some anti-social elements were “turning heroes overnight by killing poor dogs” and called for their arrest under the goondas.