Haryana has around 19 lakh stray dogs roaming free on the streets, according to a survey conducted by the experts of a Hyderabad- based non-governmental organization (NGO).
The 'Humane Society International India', in its two two-phase survey 'Dog Population Baseline Survey in Haryana" conducted last year in April and November, found out that there are 18.8 lakh (1.88 million) free roaming dogs in Haryana. The Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) had hired the NGO to conduct the survey.
Out of these, around half are community dogs (stray dogs who live on street but get fed by certain households in a locality) while the other half have no fixed point or person to get their food from.
The figures of stray dogs are in addition to 6,60,000 pet dogs that are confined to a property.
The total population of free roaming dogs in Hisar division is around 5,15,361, while Hisar district alone has 1,13,929 dogs, the survey report reads. "The data is authentic as it was collected by our professional staff in a very scientific manner," claims media and communication manager Chetasi Kane.
Sterilisation, rabies vaccination
Soon after the survey, the NGO that has its headquarters in the US, was roped in by the ministry of health, AWBI and the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) as an implementing agency to carry out 'National Rabies control Programme' in Hisar division.
The two-year programme comprises of two components - 'Stay neuter operation' for sterilisation and 'mass vaccination programme' to make the place rabies-free through vaccination.
While the former component will be executed in Hisar district only, the latter would be carried out in the entire Hisar division.
The NGO, which has already started the progamme last month, will cover both the components of its programme in Hisar district in its initial phase.
"So far, we have sterilised around 223 dogs and vaccinated around 2,300," media and communication manager, Chetasi Kane said.
Kane claims that sterilisation is the most scientific and humane way of dog population management unlike culling or relocating them.
For the smooth execution of the programme, the NGO has set up a facility in Jahazpur in Hisar on the space provided by its local partner, the department of animal husbandry and dairying.
The facility consists of an operational theatre, around 20 community kennels, a washing and holding area.
Normally, the sterilisation process for each dog takes around 15 minutes and the animal is given anesthesia before getting operated.
For identification purpose, the dog is marked with a 'V-notch' on the left ear.
As per the law, dogs are kept in the facility for two days after their operation to make sure they recover fully and are later returned to the same place from where they were picked.
The NGO will sterilise 70% dogs in Hisar district alone.
"We have to maintain the nature's balance. We can't go full throttle and sterilise all of them," Kane said.
Currently, the NGO operates with a limited staff of 23 which consists of some veterinaries and an animal welfare officer. However, they will soon be increased to 90 to carry out their mass vaccination programme at a bigger scale.