Stray dogs have a free run in Srinagar, SMC action plan in tatters
Srinagar, Apr 12: With the authorities here in summer capital Srinagar failing to curb the growing population of stray dogs, the canines pose serious threat to the people especially to the children. The residents in most of the areas including Bemina, Qamarwari, Batmalloo, Tengpora, Barzulla, Noorbagh, and many other areas close to the city centre Lal Chowk said that due to presence of dogs, they are unable to move freely on the roads especially in morning and late hours. Bilal Ahmad of MIG Colony Bemina, said the authorities have no way to control this menace. “This is a major problem for all of us. Stray dogs bite people, chase them when they go to prayers early in the morning, and scare away children,” he said. A senior citizen living close to DAV school in Jawahar Nagar, Srinagar said that dozens of stray dogs in groups roam around the garbage dumping place close to his home. “It is really frightening to cross the road close to it, particularly for women and old age persons like my,” he said. The inhabitant said that it seems the authorities are unaware of various laws regarding how to check the growth of stray dogs. Even after making several complaints to the authorities nothing much has changed on the ground. “Some of the dogs living in our area are obviously rabid. Not just bites, but several accidents also keep taking place as they keep chase the motorists,” said Jaffar Ahmad of Batamaloo, adding that many children have been bitten in the last few months, making others too scared to go out and play. Residents from Khanyar, Habba Kadal, Rambagh, Solina, and Karanagar also claimed that stray dogs hamper smooth movement of people. According to official data, there are about 48,000 dogs in the city, but unofficial estimates say the number is about 1 lakh. As per official figures, as many as 30,711 dog bite cases were registered at the only anti-rabies clinic at SMHS hospital in Srinagar from 2012-13 to 2017-18. According to experts, the reason behind the ferocity of the dogs is the high-protein offal they are fed regularly because of the dietary habits of residents of Kashmir, where mutton and chicken are part of staple food. An SMC official blamed that the people throw food packets on the streets and these attract dogs. “When someone tries to clear it, the canines bite them. There is a need to keep the streets and roads clean,” he said. It is to mention here that the SMC had claimed that they have signed a memorandum of understanding on sterilization of dogs with SKAUST for resuming dog sterilization program in the city. The state government had ordered the constitution of a state-level implementation and monitoring committee for the control of stray dog population in Kashmir. The order was issued in the wake of public criticism that the authorities concerned, especially the Srinagar Municipal Corporation, have failed to check the menace of stray dogs. The committee was said to be function under the chairmanship of the administrative secretary of the housing and urban development department. The committee was asked to study the reasons behind such a high number of dog bites and whether the culprits were pet or stray dogs.