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Saturday, Dec 14, 2019

Shimla yet to warm up to adopting stray dogs

cities Updated: Dec 04, 2019 17:43 IST
Navneet Rathore
Navneet Rathore

Two months after the Shimla Municipal Corporation (SMC) launched its stray dog adoption scheme, only 40 strays have found a home.

Under the scheme aimed at solving the tourist town’s stray dog problem, residents who adopt such a dog are given exemption from paying the garbage collection fee.

Veterinary public health officer Dr Neeraj Mohan said, “The scheme has proved to be helpful to an extent. We are hopeful it will pick up.”

Manish Thakur, a local resident, says, “There is always a fear of being attacked by stray dogs and monkeys. The administration needs to find an effective way to curb this problem. This scheme is good but not everyone will adopt a stray dog, so it’s not a permanent solution.”

The SMC started the scheme in October 2019. Adopting families are to fill a form and commit to feeding the dog and providing it medical care, if needed. If the family fails to look after the dog, the MC will fine it Rs 10,000.

The scheme was inspired by the Michigan Humane Society, a non-profit organisation in the US, which offers dogs for adoption in Detroit.

In September 2009, the Himachal Pradesh high court said it’s the MC’s duty to address the stray dog problem and provide animal shelters. In 2013, the court ordered the MC to rid the town of stray dogs within three months but the problem persists.

A sterilisation programme to control stray dog population was started in 2006 but due to lack of resources, it was stopped in 2011.

Shimla town has more than 2,000 stray dogs in 34 wards. Packs of dogs can be seen roaming around The Mall and The Ridge, the most crowded places in town. Cases of dog bites are common as 24,000 cases are reported in the state every year.