Chandigarh and its satellite towns of Panchkula and Mohali are seeing an unprecedented rise in dog bite cases.
Sunday’s incident of eight people being bitten by a stray dog in Chandigarh’s Sector 15 was the latest in the series of such attacks over a fortnight. The dog that was done to death by residents was found to be suffering from rabies. The Chandigarh Municipal Corporation, animal husbandry and health departments have assured the dog bite victims of full treatment and sterilisation of the stray dogs in the sector. The MC is on a drive to catch and vaccinate stray dogs in the area.
Living in fear with 9,834 cases of dog bite in a year, the residents are divided on how to tackle the problem. While some favour culling, others suggest a sterilisation drive.
They agree that the MC of all three towns have failed to take effective steps to deal with the problem.
MC joint commissioner Manoj Khatri says, “Till 2012, there were 10,000 stray dogs in the city but now we will conduct the survey again. The population of stray dogs has come down. The cases of dog bites, 25 a day before April 2015, have now come down to 12.” The MC sterilised 8,600 dogs of the 10,000, he said.
The UT MC is now seeking amendments in the Animal Birth Control Rules, 2001, to allow culling as an option.
Adoption the answer?
Mohali mayor Kulwant Singh has suggested residents adopt stray dogs. “A dog bites only when it is hungry,” he says, urging councillors to take the initiative in adopting strays. By adoption, Kulwant says a person should take the responsibility of feeding the stray and supervise its sterilisation. “Stray dogs cannot be wished away, but there are ways to tackle their growing population,” he says.
Panchkula residents blame dog lovers feeding strays. They say when the street dogs don’t get fed, they attack.
Last week, the Panchkula MC issued guidelines that feeding street dogs should be done at a particular place i.e. out of the community premises.
Lily Bawa, a local councillor, says, “They (dog lovers) can feed strays at their home but they shouldn’t endanger the life of others.”
Yasmin Dutta Khosla, an executive member of the Society for Protection of Cruelty Against Animals (SPCA), Panchkula, says, “If we don’t give street dogs food and water, they will get wild and attack us. There could be a central area where the dogs can be fed.”
- The treatment for a dog/rabid bite involves dosage over 28 days.
- Within the first 24 hours, three injections are to be given. These are tetanus, immuno globulin and anti-rabies vaccine. The first dose of the three injections costs Rs 150 at the civic dispensary.
- The patient is then called for additional four doses of the anti-rabies vaccine after a gap of certain days.