GHMC claims to have sterilised 2.8 lakh dogs, but ground reality is different

Female dogs with fresh broods of newborn puppies in tow are roaming many a street in the city suburbs these days, giving goose-bumps to the respective residents. Apprehensions about the increased stray dog population in their locality are scaring people away before they are enamoured by the pretty picture of playful pups.

Despite the Animal Birth Control and Anti-Rabies Vaccination Programme (ABC/AR) implemented by the GHMC, quite a few areas in the city are experiencing a spurt in dog population, as evidenced in the current baby boom.

As part of the ABC/AR programme recommended by the World Health Organisation, the GHMC workers are supposed to capture stray dogs, male and female, transport them to the dog pound in the city, administer anti-rabies vaccine and sterilise them, before returning them to their respective streets.

Uproar by activists

The ABC/AR programme has been devised after there was a huge uproar by animal protection activists and voluntary organisations against the periodical killing of stray dogs. GHMC officials claim that since 2007 when the programme was first implemented in the city, about 2.8 lakh dogs in the GHMC limits have been sterilised. However, ground level situation speaks otherwise.

“At least ten broods of puppies can be found within a kilometre radius in our locality. Almost all the female dogs here have conceived at once, and even the litter of each dog is not less than five to six puppies,” says K.Yella Reddy, working as security guard in Kothapet. Same situation prevails in many other areas, especially within municipalities such as Malkajgiri, Uppal, Alwal, and Rajendranagar which have been recently merged with GHMC.

Abandonment of puppies is one more problem posed by the uncontrolled breeding. Vexed with the dog menace in their localities, people are carrying the puppies away and leaving them at far off places, resulting in death for many. Most often localities where the puppies are abandoned are city slums, the hotspots of stray dog attacks.

The Chief Veterinary Officer of GHMC P. Venkateswara Reddy claimed that a total of 45,000 dogs have been sterilised this year since April. In 2011, a total of 78,605 dogs were sterilised as per records. He pegs the total number of dogs in the city at 3 lakh, though it could only be a surmise considering the absence of a scientifically validated dog census.

“We have begun to cover the surrounding municipalities only in 2008. Dogs start breeding within six months to one year after birth, and it will be some time before we cover all of them. Further, canines keep migrating from other areas, and this compounds the problem,” Mr. Reddy says.

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