Lucknow Municipal Corporation clueless on how to tackle street mongrels
Passing the buck: Municipal Corporation blames animal rights activists, who in turn say the civic body has no data, no plan and no understanding about how to tackle the problemlucknow Updated: Oct 06, 2017 15:35 IST
In August this year, a pack of stray dogs ate flesh from the face of a body kept in the morgue of a hospital in Lucknow, leaving the relatives of the deceased shocked.
In November 2015, Faizan Hussain, 19, and Asif Ali, 17, were going on their bike from Chaupatia to Akbari Gate in the old city where they were attacked by a pack of stray dogs. Faizan tried to speed up the bike but lost balance and collided with an electric pole. Both of them died in the mishap.
Small wonder anger is slowly building up against the municipal authorities whose inaction has caused a spate of dog bites and injuries to the common man in the past.
In Balrampur hospital, around 140 patients come daily for treatment of dog bite and rabies.
Faizan’s father Rafique Hussain said, “I was surprised when animal right activists came to me and instead of sympathising with me, asked me to not create an atmosphere against animals or they would register a case with the police as laws are now loaded heavily in favour of animals. The municipal authorities have done little to catch the dogs in our area and the problem persists.”
The stray dog menace has reached such an extent that the Lucknow Municipal Corporation (LMC) receives around 100 to 150 complaints per week. However, chief veterinary officer Dr AK Rao blames animal rights activists and NGOs for the current situation. “ Whenever our staff members go to catch dogs for sterilisation, animal rights activists hound them and don’t allow to perform their duties,” he told HT.
“All these activists are very well connected, so we find it hard to perform our duties,” he said.
Then how is the menace to be controlled?
Animal rights activists say the number of street dogs is multiplying rapidly and municipalities are not making any effort to control this. The stray dogs face a food shortage, as the food dumps have competitors like stray cows, bulls and pigs. The only solution is to sterilise all pariahs. Till strong measures are taken, dog menace would continue.
ANIMAL BIRTH CONTROL THE SOLUTION
According to the Animal Birth Control Rules, 2001, sterilisation is the sole way to control the population of stray animals . There are over 60,000 stray dogs in the city and LMC performed 3,222 sterilisations last year. This year, from April to September, 1,362 dogs have been caught and castrated.
Noted canine expert VK Joshi said, “We must understand that dogs are pack animals. They are the descendants of wolves. All these animals live and hunt is packs. It is said that in wilderness, one can escape an attack by a rhino, but it is impossible to escape from a pack of wild dogs. While on hunt, howling, with their noses up in the air, sniffing their prey, fangs bared, muscles twitching, they surround the prey from all sides and the one nearest just nips at the prey.”
ANIMAL RIGHT ACTIVISTS SAY
Kamna Pandey, former co-op member, AWBI said she had been approaching the Nagar Nigam to tackle the dog population for the past many years but the LMC had no data, no plan, no understanding as to how to deal with the issue.
“They just pick up dogs randomly on the basis of complaints and claim to sterilise them. Even if I believe that they do, what is the use of sterilising dogs like this? This has to be done area wise, with a proper planning. They are wasting government money and achieving nothing at all. I told them this long back. But they have no interest in solving the problem. All they need is numbers on paper. They have to sterilise dogs of an area, create a sanitised pocket and keep working in surrounding areas. If they had sterilised 3,000 dogs (as they claim) from one single area, like Gomti Nagar, at least one area would have been free of pups and the population would not have grown. These sterilised dogs don’t let unsterilised dogs come in their territory. Show me one such area where every female dog has a V-notching mark (showing that she is sterilised),” said Kamna.
Another animal lover from Gomti Nagar, who feeds the dogs of her area and has got them sterilised on her own, said, “I feed all the dogs of my area and even got them sterilised. There were no new litters, the dogs were friendly and people were happy. But some three years back the Nagar Nigam van took away my dogs and they never came back. New dogs came in and now the whole night they keep barking and fighting. People have also started having problems. I wish I could sue someone for what happened. Neither the municipal commissioner nor the veterinary officers listen. Now I am desperately trying to get the pups adopted. The Nagar Nigam has actually undone all the work that I did.”
A similar sentiment was echoed by another volunteer from Indira Nagar who said five dogs were dropped by the Nagar Nigam van one day and all hell broke loose. “These new dogs were not sterilised and delivered soon after being dropped. I am still struggling to get them spayed. The Nagar Nigam needs to learn a few things from Delhi and Mumbai.”