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BMC cruelty to dogs draws criticism

The incident of poison plantation at the Indian Institute of Forest Management (IIFM) premises to kill stray dogs has brought into sharp focus the Bhopal Municipal Corporation?s utter contempt to the acts, which protect canine population against veritable massacre.

india Updated: May 26, 2006 14:03 IST
Anil Dubey

The incident of poison plantation at the Indian Institute of Forest Management (IIFM) premises to kill stray dogs has brought into sharp focus the Bhopal Municipal Corporation’s utter contempt to the acts, which protect canine population against veritable massacre.  

As mentioned in the Bhopal DFO’s show cause notice to the IIFM director, the institute had complained about stray dog menace in  the campus to the BMC officials, who, in turn, planted poison that reportedly killed other  animals too.
The action was flagrant violation of different Acts including the Prevention of Cruelty to Animal Act and Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules, 2001.

However, the BMC Commissioner Manish Singh denied use of  poison in dealing with stray dogs. He said BMC does not respond to any complaint against stray dogs, as it has no mechanism to deal with them.

According to rules, only sterilisation and immunisation are allowed on dogs to control the menace. Besides, local authorities should provide sufficient number of dog pounds and kennel shelters for the stray dogs.  The Animal Birth Control (Dogs) rules state dog vans with ramps or the ambulance-cum-clinical van and trained dog catchers should be pressed into service for sterilisation and immunisation.

The Union Government provides funds for these works.  Moreover, the dog capturing squad of any local body is allowed to capture stray dogs by using humane methods such as lassoing or soft loop animal catchers as prescribed in the Prevention of Cruelty Rules, 1979.

The rules also said the dogs should be released in the same area after the sterilisation. Besides, local bodies are also told to treat the sick stray dogs housed in the dog kennels having sufficient area.

Even ferocious and rabid dogs should be left in the isolated ward of such shelters till natural death, states the Dog Control rules. However, this should be done only after the inspection of veterinary surgeon.

Despite existence of such rules , the BMC continues to poison dogs. Earlier, the Society for Prevention of Cruelty Against Animals also raised objections against this practice by writing a letter to the BMC administration.  Urban bodies of many big cities of the country have been running sterilisation and immunisation programmes with the help of NGOs working in this field. But, NGOs have backed out due to BMC authorities’ indifference.

A chemical named ‘strychnine’ and some derivatives of ‘sodium phosphate’ were used for killing stray dogs until some years ago, but now it is not available in the markets. Now, some derivates of ‘sodium phosphate’ are being used for this purpose. This chemical is filled in empty gelatin capsules and kept in ‘Mawa’ at night. However, there is no record of this practice as it is being used secretly due to prevailing rules, said BMC sources.

Puneet Tripathi of Animal and Environment Organisation also said he receives several complaints regarding poisoning of stray dogs. But, BMC lower grade employees do it during the night and it has been hard to collect any evidence against them, he added.

Tripathi said he had contacted the BMC administration on many occasions for carrying out sterilisation and immunisation programme according to rules but the political leadership had not shown any interest in this direction.