The drive, to be held later this month, is part of an initiative to prevent rabies deaths

The Chennai Corporation will commence a free vaccination drive for all pet dogs in the 15 zones of the city later this month.

According to records of the Corporation, as many as 3,000 licensed pet dogs have been identified in residential localities across the city.

Residents with a valid licence for their pets will be offered the services free of cost by the newly revamped veterinary unit of the Corporation. Veterinary surgeons had been hired by the civic body last month to facilitate the vaccination drive as part of an initiative to prevent rabies deaths in the city.

The city had no cases of rabies in 2009. However, the numbers started rising in the last few years, with at least 18 persons dying of rabies in the last three years.

The civic body has also planned to vaccinate 40,000 stray dogs in the city, shortly. “There will not be any rabies deaths in two years’ time,” claimed an official of the Corporation.

“A team of 20 dog-catchers from Madurai will also reach the city next week to strengthen the Animal Birth Control (ABC) programme. As the Central government is set to stop funding for ABC in large cities such as Chennai, the civic body will start spending Rs. 4 crore every year for the programme,” the official added.

The Corporation has also completed a dog census in the city. The data collected will help the civic body deal with public health issues pertaining to community or stray dogs.

According to the dog census, the number of stray dogs in the city has reduced, and is pegged at 85,000. Previous records of the civic body had estimated that there were 1.85 lakh stray dogs. “Added areas such as Sholinganallur, Madhavaram, Ambattur, Alandur and Valasaravakkam have most of the stray dogs,” said the official.

The largest number of community dogs in the city is in Sholinganallur zone, at 10,000. Royapuram with 1,500 dogs has the least number among the 15 zones. Most of the zones, including Teynampet, Kodambakkam, Anna Nagar, Tondiarpet and Thiru-Vi-Ka Nagar, have fewer dogs with an average of 3,000.

“The fall in numbers might be because of the animal birth control programme,” said Shirani Pereira of PFA.

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