At least 40 stray dogs have been killed after applying potassium cyanide injection in a village in Kannur (north Kerala) on Saturday ignoring the loud protest of animal lovers.
The Puzhathi panchayat, on the outskirts of Kannur city, has allegedly hired a four-member team from neighboring Tamil Nadu to do away with strays.
The mass killing came to light when panchayat authorities tried to bury the carcasses of dogs discreetly. The killed strays include some puppies also.
When animal-lovers questioned the mass culling they were allegedly manhandled by people who supported the move. The village had reported many dog-bite cases in the recent past.
“When we tried to stop the mindless killing we were threatened with dire consequences. Even the police initially refused to accept our compliant,” said Dr Suhma Prabhu, an animal lover. The police later detained four members of the team and seized two bikes used to ferry carcasses. Animal-lovers are also planning to file a complaint with the animal welfare board.
“It was a well planned mass killing. The number was limited to 40 when we intervened. One of the members of the killer squad told us that they were given a contract to cull at least 100 dogs,” another animal rights activist said. When contacted village panchayat authorities refused to speak.
The state Government and animal-lovers were on a collision course when the former took a decision to cull troublesome street dogs. Animal lovers opposed the move vehemently saying it would trigger mindless killing of canines.
The state had pressed the panic button after 40,000-odd dog-bite cases were reported in eight months. Some activists had also started a vigorous campaign ‘Boycott Kerala’ to whip up support.
Read: Animal-lovers fear dog cullings as Kerala okays strict measures
According to a survey conducted by the state animal husbandry department there are around 9.23 domestic dogs and 2.70 lakh strays in the state.
Since many prefer to rear male dogs domestic female canine population has dipped drastically adding much pressure on to the stray female population. Currently there are only 1500 vet surgeons in the state. It needs at least double the number to carry out sterilization programme.
Since most of the local bodies don’t have required infrastructure and facilities for ABC (animal birth control) often they resort to quick means.
Interestingly majority of local bodies are yet to switch over from traditional sterilization method to keyhole surgery, a standard procedure followed globally.
According to vets if key hole surgery is performed a dog can leave hospital in two days whereas in other cases at least four days needed.
Read:Bitten and bruised by stray dogs, Kerala cracks down