On an average, 1,000 dog bites are reported in the city a year

The biting spree by stray dogs in Bhavanipuram continues and killing a five-year-old boy, which created havoc in the city, exposed the lack of preparedness of Vijayawada Municipal Corporation-run hospitals to meet such exigencies.

Non-availability of anti rabies vaccine (ARV) in the VMC-run hospitals is giving jitters to the victims. There is a dearth of Anti Rabies Vaccine in these hospitals. The doctors at Sheik Raja Hospital and Rajiv Nagar Hospital, only two VMC run hospitals where the ARV is administered, are sending the victims to the Government General Hospital for the ARV after providing the necessary preliminary treatment.

Animal lovers may say that street dogs are fairly docile, but, these dogs maul not just pedestrians but two-wheeler riders as well. On an average, 1,000 dog bites are reported in the city per annum. But, the government is not supplying requisite ARVs to the Corporation. The Corporation requires 2,400 to 2,500 vials of the ARV. Cases include bites by pet dogs too.

The VMC, however, receives only 500 doses per quarter or 2,000 doses per annum, the officials say. According to a rough estimate, as many as 15,000 stray dogs are virtually reigning the streets of Vijayawada.

Mental agony

Hundreds of street dogs are left unvaccinated, freely roaming around the lanes and bylanes of the city, sometimes getting into a biting spree sans provocation.

While people undergo physical and mental agony, the VMC’s expenditure on vaccine is also on the rise. It spends more than Rs.250 to purchase each dose of ARV, following a resolution passed by the general body to supply it free of cost to all VMC-run hospitals.

As an alternative, to curb the canine population the VMC is performing ovario-hysterectomy on every bitch and surgical castration on every dog.

Each such operation costs Rs.800, out of which the VMC bears Rs.445 and the remaining is borne by other stakeholders like animal welfare organisations.

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