K. Gnaneswar, Joint Director, Department of Animal Husbandry, on Saturday said that a drive would be launched for animal birth control operations in the city involving male dogs from August in association with the Eluru Municipal Corporation (EMC). Speaking at a function in connection with the World Zoonosis Day, he said the programme would go on for a period of 2-3 years until the whole task was accomplished with an aim to bring the dog population under control. The official machinery is finding it difficult to collect census on the number of dogs in the district and their health profiles for devising a plan of action to handle a number of diseases transmitted from dogs to humans due to the `population explosion’ with each female being capable of producing not less than eight cubs in each cycle of reproduction in its lifetime.

The Joint Director said the dogs upon operated were given a tag, tattoo or paint as a mark of identification. The Blue Cross Society, a Non-Governmental Organisation, has trained dog catchers on catching the stray dogs live and provided them with kits containing nets and the other paraphernalia. The Animal Husbandry department was planning to make use of their services for organising the birth control operations. After the dogs caught by the catchers, the veterinarians from the department would identify the male animals for operations, he explained. According to the data available with the Animal Husbandry department, a little over 30,000 dogs are in existence in the district. The city reportedly has 4,300 animals.

K. Ramakrishna, Assistant Director, Animal Diseases Diagnostic Lab (ADDL), said 60 per cent of all the dogs in the district were brought under the coverage of anti-rabies vaccination programme on the World Zoonoses Day. The vaccination programmes were organised at six places in the district — Eluru, Palacole, Kovvuru, Nidadavole, Tadepalligudem and Narsapur. The centres were witness to an unusual bondage between the humans and their pets. The pets were brought to the centres in cars, autos and the other medium of transport on hand. Anti-rabies vaccines were supplied by the Eluru Municipal Corporation and the Lion’s Club members from Nidadavole. Mr. Ramakrishna appealed to the people with pet dogs to take certain precautions against the transmission diseases like rabbis, anthrax etc from animals.

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