50,000 dogs to undergo surgeries in Kashmir
Kashmir's rare hospital is bracing up to operate upon 50,000 dogs to bring down the alarming canine population in the capital city of Srinagar from official figures of 91,000, with human-dog ratio of 13:1, to minimal level.
"In the last 24 hours, 14 dogs, mainly females, were operated upon in the recently established special facility. While male dogs were castrated, females underwent surgery for ovario-hysterectomy," said Srinagar municipal corporation doctor in-charge Sajad Mugal.
The single-floor surgery facility with pre and post operation care has come up at the Shuhama Teaching Veterinary Clinical Services Complex on the city outskirts and started operations on Thursday. Besides the operation facility, there are 50 kennels and six community kennels to keep dogs.
The government is under pressure from residents to address the dog menace, with biting cases touching alarming figures of 53,000 in the last five years, according to Shri Maharaja Haris Sinsh hospital's anti-rabies department.
There was massive public outcry this year when 73 people were mauled by dogs in 24 hours on April 23-24.
"For quick redress, we are performing more surgeries on females to bring down pace of multiplication of dogs. A female dog delivers 14 pups in a year. We already have 90,000 dogs roaming the streets," said Mughal.
The municipality had recently sent five doctors to Jaipur for a specialised training at the Human Society International, which has expertise to handle animal issues and has trained several departments from Philippines and Bhutan.
"During the programme, the doctors specialised in the key-hole surgery. At least 60% of the dog population will undergo surgeries, which might take more than a year's time," said Mughal.
The animal birth control programme, which meets animal rights requirements, is being conducted by the Srinagar municipality in coordination with Animal Welfare Board and Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Agriculture Science and Technology. Around Rs 5 lakh has been spent on instruments used during surgeries.
The seriousness of the issue can be gauged from the fact that state deputy chief minister Tara Chand is scheduled to visit the facility and review castration and hysterectomy surgeries soon.
"Sterilization will reduce dog proliferation with time and it is the most humane method to curb rapid increase of dogs in city," said SMC commissioner Dr GN Qasba.
The SMC is maintaining a register of dogs.
"After three months of close observation, the sterilised dogs will be let free in their respective places," said Dr Sajad.
Male dogs will be subjected to castration operation and anti-rabies immunisation with post-operative period for 2-3 days, while female dogs will have to undergo ovario-hysterectomy surgery with minimum post-operative period of 3 days.
A dog catching vehicle is also being made available to start catching stray dogs in zones with priority to the 'Red Areas', where dog bite cases have been reported in the past. The catching of the stray dogs will be done in the wee hours of the morning and late evening in order to avoid public interference.
Those fit for surgery will be kept off-fed for 12-24 hours. Those suffering from illness, injuries, mange etc will be treated prior to their sterilisation.
The authorities will put V-shaped ear notching to identify the sterilised dogs. These dogs will be released in the same areas after the completion of post-operative period and ensuring proper healing.
The Srinagar Municipal Corporation will be feeding the sterilised dogs with rice, potatoes, dhaliya, chicken and mutton waste twice a day in kennels.