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Friday, Oct 18, 2019

29 councillors skip Chandigarh MC’s conference on stray dog management

35 councillors were to attend the sessions; MC spent ₹12 lakh on the same

cities Updated: Sep 28, 2019 23:55 IST

As many as 29 of the 35 councillors skipped municipal corporation’s national conference on stray dog management on Saturday.

Even mayor Rajesh Kumar Kalia arrived three hours late for the conference that began at 10.30am with UT administrator VP Singh Badnore’s address, followed by seven sessions on different aspects of prevention of rabies and controlling stray dog population.

Of the absentees, 22 were those who were on a five-day Leh trip, but stayed away from the conference, despite majority of them returning to Chandigarh at 10.30am. 

Even among the six councillors present, just two councillors — Major General MS Kandal (retd) and Mahesh Inder Singh — sat through all sessions and participated in the discussions.

“I don’t want to comment on the low attendance of councillors, but the conference was important to understand human-animal conflict and controlling stray dog population. Hopefully, MC will adopt the suggestions shared by experts and dignitaries,” said Sidhu.

The corporation spent ₹12 lakh on the conference, inviting delegates from across the country to deliberate on bringing down the population of stray animals.

‘Shame for the city’

Slamming councillors, Federation of Sector Resident Welfare Associations (FOSWAC) president Baljinder Singh Bittu, who attended the conference, said, “It is a shame for the city that we have such councillors who travelled hundreds of miles to reach Leh, but did not feel the need to deliberate on an issue that affects everyone.”

Find ways to co-exist with dogs: Badnore

Encouraging MC to find innovative ways to motivate people to adopt stray dogs, UT administrator Badnore said dog population should not be seen as a menace as the animal was man’s best friend. “We must way finds to co-exist,” he said.

He said Indian breeds of dogs were much better than foreign breeds, and we must take their responsibility than indulging in conflict.

Responding, MC commissioner KK Yadav said MC may think of some rebate from existing taxes to motivate people to adopt stray dogs. “Things will be finalised when all suggestions of the conference will be discussed in length during subsequent MC meetings,” he said.

‘Bhutan, Sikkim did it, why can’t we’

Major General RM Kharb (retd), former chairman of the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI), said when places like Bhutan and Sikkim can control dog population and overcome rabies deaths, why can’t other places do it?

“All we need is an aggressive programme, since many civic bodies are not sensitive towards effective implementation of the animal birth control (ABC) programme,” he added.

Also present, ABWI chairman OP Chaudhary said the problem with ABC programme was that NGOs certified to do it did not work properly. “There is a need to improve the working of district animal welfare boards headed by the deputy commissioners to check their work,” he said. 

Dr Charan Kamal Singh from Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, Ludhiana, said rabies was spread among humans primarily by stray dogs. “It can never be controlled if the stray dog population is left unchecked,” he added.

Suggestions at the conference

City wise or village wise census of stray dogs is must

Focus should be to sterilise female dogs

Limiting availability of food is vital to control dog population

Anti-rabies vaccination and sterilisation programme should be aggressively followed 

Community engagement and not ‘catch and kill’ helps in reduction of dog population

Waste management is also key to controlling dog population as scattered waste is natural food for dogs

Need for skilled dog catchers, paramedical staff and veterinary doctors for proper pre- and post-sterilised dog surgery

MC can use tranquilizers to catch dogs

First Published: Sep 28, 2019 23:55 IST

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