Sterilization can help curb dog attacks: Experts
Several factors ranging from availability of food to habitat and environment may be responsible for dog attacks, say experts.
“Since dog is our closest companion from the animal kingdom, it can be observed closely to avoid conflict with man,” says Abhijeet Pawde, senior scientist at Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI), Bareilly.
According to a 2015 study published in the scientific journal PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 20,847 people died of rabies in India. When compared with the world total of 59,000, this figure is alarming. “The number gives us an idea about the huge problem of dog bites that we are facing in India. The incidents where people are killed by dogs are worse,” said Pawde.
Explaining the reasons which lead to this situation he said, “Dogs are very comfortable living near human habitat since they easily get food and are able to breed as well. Breeding results in rise of their population which leads to competition over food. On certain occasions, the scarcity of food or competition over it leads to attacks, especially involving young children who are physically weak to scare away the dogs.”
Realising the problem of canine population early last decade, the government formulated a draft of Animal Birth Control (Dogs) rules 2001 under prevention of Cruelty to Animal act 1960. As per the draft, stray dogs have to be sterilized, identified and relocated. But experts believe this exercise is not being undertaken properly.
“Sterilization and relocation was outsourced to private players and stringent checks were not done to ensure that the process was being done properly,” said G Taru Sharma, senior scientist at the animal physiology department at IVRI.
Sharma suggests that this exercise need to be monitored well by experts. “Sterilization must be done with the efficacy of vaccination programmes to get the desired results,” she said.
Experts also stress on the need for more scientific research in the domain.