If the civic body is to be believed, there were 77,000 people bitten by dogs in 2009 alone.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) records say the city saw more than 2.84 lakh dog bite cases and 112 deaths due to rabies in the last five years, but 77,000 dog bite cases and 18 deaths just in 2009.
“This is a very serious issue. I will follow this up with the health department,” said Ashwini Mate, chairperson of the civic health department.
Dr Ambe, executive health officer, BMC, said, “The number is high because dog bite patients from areas like Thane, Vasai and Virar come to BMC hospitals to be treated as it is free. An injection that costs Rs 350 is given free at BMC hospitals and the total course costs around Rs 1,000-1,200.”
Lt col Dr J C Khanna, a member of the Animal Welfare Board of India and a member of the BMC-appointed Dog Control and Management Monitoring Committee, said, “Most of the dog bite cases happen in slum areas. The BMC should provide monetary help to NGO that are working to vaccinate strays every year. Vaccines will help lower the negative impact after a bite,” Khanna added.
These points were raised in the last monitoring committee meeting held on September 30.
According to the dog census of 2007, there are 70,182 stray dogs in Mumbai and 26,900 pet dogs. The civic body had stopped the killing of stray dogs in 1994 as per high court orders. Before 1994, the civic body used to kill strays to control the birth rate of stray dogs.
Thereafter, the civic body had planned and started sterilisation of stray dogs with the help of various NGOs from 1998, all over the city.
The BMC, however, spent nearly Rs 5 crore on the sterilisation drive of stray dogs since 1998 and succeeded in sterilising over 1.30 lakh strays.
The Central Social Welfare Ministry has banned the killing of stray dogs. Section 11(b) of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (PCA) states that killing stray dogs using strychnine or any other cruel method is illegal. Poisoning dogs is also a criminal offence.