If you see a dog on Srinagar’s streets with its ear pierced and wearing a stud, do not mistake it for a pet with a hip owner. It just means the dog has been sterilised.
With the growing number of strays and resultant dog bite cases in the Kashmir, the state government has embarked on an ambitious dog-sterilising programme to limit their numbers, marking the sterilised ones with studs to avoid confusion.
“Around 100 dogs a day will be sterilised in the first phase. We will raise the target to 200 a day after a few weeks,” said Asgar Hassan Samoon, commissioner of Srinagar division, after a high level meeting to discuss the matter on Friday.
It is estimated that there are around 10 lakh strays in the Kashmir Valley and dog bites are frequent. “We receive more than 300 cases a month, sometimes more than 20 a day. Most victims are children,” said Dr Shahnaz, at the Shri Maharaja Hari Singh Hospital in Srinagar.
Srinagar’s municipal corporation will soon submit a R4.5-crore proposal before the national Animal Welfare Board seeking funding and expert advice. Other town municipalities are expected to follow suit.
“Dog catchers will be paid R50 for every male they bring in. The dogs will be sterilised, marked with studs and released back in their own territory,” said Samoon.
The dog-catchers will be watched and guided by vets to ensure they do not treat the dogs they capture cruelly. They will get vans to transport the canines. The state animal welfare board will set up units of the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in each district headed by respective deputy commissioners to deal with any allegations of dogs being ill treated.