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World Rabies Day: Forget dogs, cat bites record 30% increase in Kashmir

September 28, 2023
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SRINAGAR: A new trend of petting cats has increased animal bite cases by 30 percent in Kashmir.

Anti-rabies Clinic at SMHS Hospital data revealed that there has been a 30 percent increase in cat bites in Kashmir this year.

“Last year, there could have been at the most 200 cases of cat bites. This year, cat bites account for 30 percent of all animal bites in Kashmir,” said Dr Mohammad Yousuf, in charge, Anti-rabies Clinic at SMHS Hospital.

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.

“A new trend of petting cats is gaining currency in Kashmir. Some people have even six cats at home. This has increased cat bite cases. Cat bites are equally dangerous. Even people who have immunized cats are also worried and want anti-rabies shots. Cats are biting several family members which also increases the cases,” said another doctor.

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.

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.

Unnerved by growing dog bites, Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) has launched a massive drive to sterilize canines in the summer capital city.

Official figures reveal that hundreds of dogs have been sterilized since April 14. Likewise, dogs have been given anti-rabies shots in the city. SMC has operationalized a dog sterilization facility at Tengpora to speed up the drive.

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 need to take care of our surroundings. 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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