Dog menace continues to loom large, official response too little

Dog menace continues to loom large, official response too little
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Kaiser Majeed/Junaid Manzoor/Asim Rajah

SRINAGAR: During a period of around nine months between April and December of 2017, nearly 5,000 cases of dog bites have been reported in the department of community medicine, Shri Maharaja Hari Singh (SMHS) hospital in Srinagar, official figures revealed.
The data revealed that the highest number of dog bite cases were reported from Srinagar city with an alarming numbers of 3,701 since April 2017 followed by district Budgam with 276 cases, Bandipora 241 cases, Baramulla 232 cases, Pulwama 137 cases, Ganderbal 113 cases, Kupwara 86 cases, Anantnag 65 cases, Kulgam 42 and others 45 cases.
Ashraf Mir, a resident of Habba Kadal said “I was bitten by a dog around 6 pm leaving me injured. I don’t understand why the government is silent over such an important issue.”
“Every garbage dumping site is nourishing dogs who pose threat to human life,” he said.
Doctors at Anti-rabies Centre (ARC), SMHS told Kashmir Reader that alarming rise of dog bite cases need a proper check and constructive steps need to be taken to end this menace.
“Patients with three or more than three bites are given insulin and immunoglobulin. Insulin is available freely here but immunoglobulin which is costlier is not. Most of the patients who come here are poor and they can’t afford it”, they said adding “If it is made freely available,it will prove beneficial to the people”.
Dr Javaid Ahmed, Veterinary Officer, SMC told Kashmir Reader that controlling the alarming canine population is a great challenge as they’ve two breeding seasons in a year. The corporation is working on multiple strategies to control it. The number of dog bite cases in 2011 was nearly 10,000 which decreased to 6,000 in 2012 and 5,000 in 2016.
“According to 2012 census, the canine population in Srinagar was 49,000. If we take male-female ratio into consideration, nearly 50 percent of the population constitutes females and only 50% among the female population is able to breed that is nearly 12 percent of the population. This 12 percent adds 2 lakh to the dog population every year. Given the figures, possible concrete policy has been devised to control the population”, he said.
He said the government has decided to establish an Animal Birth Control Anti Rabies Centre (ABCAR) at Tengpora where 70-80 dogs will be sterilized per day. The works will start in a week and we are hopeful that we will be able to control the population to a large extent,” he said.
Referring to garbage management, Dr Javaid said that Srinagar city produces 450 metric tons of garbage daily in which 200 metric tons of waste is non-vegetarian. Nearly 1 lakh chickens are consumed daily in Srinagar, leaving 40,000 kilograms of waste for dogs. If the waste is not managed properly, it will help in increasing proliferation rate of dogs and will enhance their life span.
He said the SMC has initiates measures to collect garbage. “On the directions of Commissioner SMC, small garbage vehicles will be operated to collect all the waste from poultry farms, and dressing shops to minimize availability of waste for dogs”, he added.