With public criticism snapping at its heels, the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) said it has intensified the Animal Birth Control (ABC) and Anti-Rabies Vaccination (ARV) programmes.

Joint Director (Animal Husbandry) Parvez Ahmad Piran told The Hindu that 20 new packages budgeted at Rs. 4 crore will tackle stray dogs. Earlier, the ABC was implemented in 15 packages by three NGOs. There were now eight NGOs implementing it as well as rabies vaccination in the city.

Most complaints were from the east and the south of the city where the dog population was high. “We have formed a Rapid Action Team which can cover the entire zone in a day,” Dr. Piran said.

The BBMP will have two mobile surgical units in a month which will go to slums and sterilise dogs on the spot. “Slum dwellers usually adopt strays and are generally apprehensive of the BBMP taking the dogs away for the ABC programme. If we perform the surgery in front of them, their fears will be allayed,” he said and added that more units will be set up if the project is successful.

The BBMP hopes to cover at least 80,000 dogs in a year. “The only way to tackle the situation is to cover more dogs in a short period. If we maintain the pace for three years, we will be able to see some definite results,” he said.

Dr. Piran insisted that dogs are not a nuisance and don't bite unless provoked.

The BBMP will soon announce the package number, the wards covered and the NGOs involved in the programme. “We will provide the contact details in case of a dog bite or for complaints,” he said. Besides this, the civic authority will place advertisements in newspapers urging the public not to provoke dogs and how to prevent bites. The awareness programmes will also be taken up in schools, he added.

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