Animal activists shy away from taking up operations

The death of a five-year old boy at Bhavanipuram here underscored the urgent need to address the stray dog menace in the city. The incident highlighted lapses on part of the Vijayawada Municipal Corporation (VMC) and animal welfare activists as well. Neither the VMC nor animal rights activists— Institute of Jeevakarunyam and Research—have taken initiative in sterilising the dogs.

The dog population in the city rose significantly incidentally after the Corporation conducted birth control operations couple of years. Though exact statistics are not available, the dog population, it is estimated, will be 12,000 to 15,000. The VMC officials, in 2009, pegged the stray dog population at 10,000.

Of this, 7,000 canines were only sterilised. Then, the VMC stated that the sterilisation measures would be taken up every year religiously.

The VMC officials, however, could not conduct any operations last year though budget was allocated for it. The animal rights activists did volunteer to take up the task either. However, they shied away pleading that they had no place to sterilise the dogs. Consequently, now, take any street in the city the stray dog menace is rampant. And the Corporation was flooded with at least three calls daily, officials said.

The VMC claimed that it “successfully conducted” ovario-hysterectomy and surgical castration on dogs in the city. It claimed that all the 7,000 stray dogs underwent these surgeries. In phase-I, 3,000 canines were sterilised and remaining were covered in phase-II. The corporation spent more than Rs. 31 lakh in this regard in 2009.

The VMC officials have kept their fingers crossed after Monday’s incident. They are caught in a Catch-22 situation. Faced criticism from the people, who are suffering and the animal rights activists who are preventing harsh action the VMC officials are requesting the higher-ups to give them a week’s time to launch the sterilisation operations. “We neither can take up culling nor shift the canines to outskirts due to Supreme Court orders. The activists are indirectly pressurising us saying they will keep a vigil on our activities,” said an official.

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