1,278 persons bitten by street dogs in 7 months

Dogs are on the prowl on Kozhikode’s streets. In the last seven months, their bites forced 1,278 people, including children and senior citizens, to take anti-rabies vaccination.

An average of 182 dog bite cases was reported every month from various parts of the district.

In April alone, 372 persons were attacked by dogs and admitted to government hospitals to be vaccinated. In the district, Kozhikode Medical College reported the highest number of anti-rabies vaccination cases, according to the latest Integrated Disease Surveillance Project (IDSP) figures.

Despite public outcry, the civic body has been lax in controlling the population of street dogs.

The Animal Birth Control (ABC) programme, introduced in the district to address the issue, came to an abrupt end because of the limited transportation facilities offered to veterinary hospitals and the paucity of labourers in tracing the animals.

Its success was minimal in rural areas, where people mostly opted for the unlawful killing of stray dogs.

As an alternative solution, the city Corporation then decided to introduce street dog rehabilitation centres with the support of non-governmental organisations and animal welfare forums.

The plan was to offer them financial support to set up quality rehabilitation centres.

However, applications invited by the Corporation did not evoke favourable response from the non-governmental organisations.

Janamma Kunjunni, chairperson of the Corporation’s Standing Committee on Health termed the lukewarm response disappointing. “We promised the NGOs an initial aid of Rs.2 lakh. But there was hardly any response,” she said.

The Standing Committee chairperson said the Corporation would not back out of the project. “We will hold a meeting on July 30 to discuss the issue and try to strengthen the ABC programme,” she said.

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