The BBMP would have to employ multipronged strategies to control the dog population, including reproduction control with the Animal Birth Control (ABC) programme

Other than spreading stench and various communicable diseases, garbage is clearly contributing to the increase in the city’s stray dog population, besides a concomitant rise in cases of bites and rabies.

The first breeding cycle (December to February) is already under way. With heaps of garbage lying uncleared across the city, there is no shortage of food for strays. Easy availability of food is bound to increase the fertility and fecundity among female dogs that have not been sterilised, points out Parvez Ahmad Piran, Joint Director (Animal Husbandry), Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP).

He told The Hindu these may well produce more pups, contributing to the multifold increase in the dog population. As per the 2007 census, the dog population in the city was 3.27 lakh, including 1.83 lakh strays and 1.43 lakh pets. “This year, I have urged the Animal Husbandry Department to include dogs also in the livestock census that is currently under way.”

The BBMP would have to employ multipronged strategies to control the dog population, including reproduction control with the Animal Birth Control (ABC) programme, movement control (by dropping the strays back in the same location after sterilisation), habitat control (deploying mobile units in slums, black spots and garbage dumps). “With increase in garbage on the streets, the food availability for strays has increased,” Dr. Piran said.

Rabies cases

He, however, said with the success of ABC programme, the number of reported rabies cases had come down from 12 in 2007-08 to just 1 in 2012-13. The ratio of number of bites per 1,000 persons has also come down. In 2001-02 (in the erstwhile Bangalore Mahanagara Palike), the ratio was 2.2 bites per 1,000 persons. This has come down significantly to 1.2 bites per 1,000 in 2011-12.

But, with the increase in dog population, the bites may increase. Dog bites are usually attributed to sexual aggression, maternal aggression and aggression due to rabies. These three factors can be taken care of by intensifying ABC and anti-rabies vaccination (ARV) programmes. “However, some dogs bite due to provocation, territorial aggression and aggression due to food (i.e., disturbing dogs when they are feeding). The citizens have to take precautions and prevent these,” he added.