More veterinary doctors needed to sterilise captured dogs, says Mayor

The incident on Thursday evening when at least 20 persons were bitten by stray dogs near Thirumala seems to have made no impact on the Corporation Council. No concrete measures were proposed to either rehabilitate or sterilise and vaccinate the burgeoning number of stray dogs in the city at the council meeting.

One vague suggestion made by Mayor K. Chandrika was that the Suchitwa Arogya Committees working at the ward-level should be more proactive in tracking the rabid ones and informing the dog-catcher. How they would identify such dogs was unclear. Only the rabid ones could be euthanized, the Mayor pointed out, adding that the Supreme Court directive against the killing of stray dogs limited what the Corporation could do.

The civic body was left with only one option, sterilising them. But this could be done only if at least four veterinary surgeons and two surgical assistants were appointed by the Animal Husbandry Department. The United Democratic Front councillors alleged that the Mayor was conveniently shifting the blame to the government. They said she had not welcomed the independent agencies that had come forth to capture dogs.

Ms. Chandrika and Health standing committee chairperson S. Pushpalatha said that the Corporation did not have the authority of appointment or transfers and so even if there were groups willing to capture dogs, this would serve no good unless there were sufficient doctors to sterilise the captured dogs.

Some councillors alleged that some groups merely availed themselves of the funds for animal welfare, but did nothing.

An Animal Husbandry Department official had earlier told The Hindu that the Corporation could make use of the services of doctors from the 15 veterinary dispensaries within the Corporation limits and the District Veterinary Centre at PMG Junction to carry out the sterilisation procedure. But neither the ruling front councillors nor the Opposition raised the issue.