Srinagar: With the stray dog population in Srinagar touching close to one lakh, the authorities are still in deep slumber. The dog menace has been posing such a grave challenge that nearly four thousand dog bites are reported in various hospitals in Srinagar annually.
Though authorities claim that around 30 per cent decline has been recorded in the number of dog bites since the past few years-but the alarmingly high rate of growth in numbers of the canines is a worrisome factor.
The canine population has witnessed increase in almost all civilian areas irrespective of the fact that whether the areas fall in cities or even towns. In most of these places the people especially the young children and the women have been targeted by these canines and in some case even the incidents have led to the death of the individual.
The attack cases apart, record available at the Srinagar’s Anti-Rabies Clinic reveals that 12 dog bite-related deaths have occurred during the past six years alone.
The dog menace has been affecting almost all the states in India. More than 20,000 people die of rabies every year in India. Last year, Global Alliance for Rabies Control, reported that India accounted for 35% of human rabies deaths, more than any other country.
More startling revelation was provided by the Mumbai civic authorities which said that dog bites in Mumbai had killed more people in 20 years than the two deadly terror attacks in the city – the 1993 serial blasts and the 26/11 attack in 2008.
According to the municipality’s petition in the Supreme Court, 434 people had died from rabies – a fatal viral infection which is almost 100% preventable – transmitted by dogs between 1994 and 2015. In comparison, the two attacks killed 422 people.
These figures may seem absurd but they also sound an alarm for the people of Kashmir as the stray dog population is increasing at an alarming rate. The reasons being the ineffective planning on the part of civic authorities and the callousness of the general public in letting out surplus food to be thrown in open.
Killing of dogs has been banned in India since 2001. But that hasn’t stopped harried authorities in cities like Mumbai and Trivendrum from recommending culling of strays. In 2008, the Mumbai high court allowed municipal authorities to kill dogs that were acting as a nuisance. However, the Supreme Court suspended the order. Since then, the top court has maintained that dogs will not be culled and ordered mass dog sterilization programmes.
But the question as to whether the civic authorities have been armed enough to carry the programme of sterilization of stray dogs has been haunting many people. The answer to this riddle is quite easy as the civic authorities have failed on this front and it is believed that in Kashmir not more than 1000 dogs have been sterilized over the past one decade.
The issue as of now remains a grave concern, so much so that a private member’s bill aiming to curb the stay dog menace in Jammu and Kashmir introduced in the state Assembly in 2015 failed to get the law rolling on curbing the dog menace.