Trend owing to nuclear families and need for effective security. The Animal Census, which is done once in four years, revealed that the population of pet dogs has been rising consistently.

The increasing number of nuclear families coupled with the need for effective protection from burglars has caused pet dog population in Vijayawada and other urban areas to go up steadily in the last few years.

According to the Animal Census done towards the end of 2012, Vijayawada city, Machilipatnam and other smaller towns have nearly 30,000 pet dogs, and their number is likely to rise further in the years ahead, going by the trend.

Vijayawada city alone has about 8,000 domestic dogs providing companionship to their owners and security in these days of daylight robberies.

“The Animal Census, which is done once in four years, revealed that the population of pet dogs has been rising consistently, as more number of people choose to adopt them. This is because dogs continue to live up to human-beings’ expectation as their best friends,” T. Damodar Naidu, Joint Director of the Department of Animal Husbandry told The Hindu.

While the pet dog population grew, their welfare has been a concern, as many owners did not how to nurture dogs, and many of them are neglected for various reasons. There are rules governing birth control and cruelty to dogs, and few people know about them. According to M. Venkateswarlu, District Honorary Animal Welfare Officer, instances of people leaving their pet dogs at their houses for several days at a stretch while going out of stations are common. Counselling is given to such dog owners though they could be booked under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, as taking such cases to a conclusion was difficult. The plight of street dogs is worse, as many get crushed to death on the road or are left to fend for themselves. Like human beings, all animals have their own rights but not many do anything for their well-being, Mr. Venkateswarlu said.

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