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Waking up to rising dog bites, SMC sterilizes 3000 canines in Srinagar

October 14, 2023

SRINAGAR:  Waking up to rising dog bites, Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) has sterilized 3000 canines in different wards across the summer capital city,

SMC has launched Animal Birth Control (ABC) and two sterilization facilities have been operationalized. “On average, we sterilize 45 to 50 dogs daily.  We can sterilize around 60 dogs. Dog catching is a very difficult task. Our teams go thrice in the field to catch dogs,” Dr. Tawheed Ahmad, Health/Veterinary Officer, SMC, told The Kashmir Monitor.

The ABC programme was first initiated in 2011 and the government had set up a facility at Suhama. It did not yield much success as not more than 200 dogs could be sterilised in a year. This time, the government has crossed the 3000 mark. The government is also giving anti-rabies shots to dogs.

“We have to follow due process. We can’t go to random places to catch dogs. We hold meetings with ward officers, locals, and others before we go to a particular area. Plus we also inform the local police station about the drive,” said Dr Tawheed.

 Figures released by the Anti-rabies Clinic at SMHS Hospital revealed that 6875 animal bite cases were reported in the last financial year. From April 1, 2023, to September 28, 4400 animal bite cases were reported at the Anti-rabies Clinic at SMHS Hospital. Of which 30 percent comprise cat bites.

Conservative estimates put the dog population between 60,000 to 70,000 in Srinagar city. SMC has hired an agency for dog sterilization. Besides sterilization, the authorities have decided to inoculate the dogs.

Figures released by the Anti-rabies Clinic revealed that over 55000 persons have been bitten by dogs since 2013.  Figures reveal that 6041 dog bite cases were reported to SMHS hospital in 2013-14, 7324 in 2015-16, 6548 in 2016-17, 6802 in 2017-18, 6399 in 2018-19, 6984 in 2019-20, and 4798 in 2020-21.

“ABC is a comprehensive programme. Weather plays a key part in this programme. For instance, during rainy days, dogs cannot be caught. Likewise in winter, the process slows down because the mortality of dogs is very high. Every factor has to be taken into consideration,” said Dr Tawheed.

Experts have been calling for proper disposal of kitchen and other wastes. Around one lakh poultry birds are slaughtered every day which generates 40000 kilos of waste that caters to the food needs of the stray dogs.

“We throw our kitchen waste on roads, alleys, and lanes. Dogs feed on this waste. At home too, we need to be careful while dealing with the pets like cats,” said an expert.

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