Activists cry foul at the ways employed by Municipality to capture dogs for Animal Birth Control programme

For several years now, the Municipality and other agencies employed to capture community dogs for ABC (Animal Birth Control) have been using a rope to catch the dogs.

Recently, following the visit of Government of India officials, the Municipality experimented with various other methods, including the use of blow pipes.

Animal rights groups across the town, however, object to these methods for catching the community dogs and they are asking that the Municipality and the SPCA, who are in charge of ABC programme for the dogs, change their approach and adopt better methods for capturing the dogs.

According to R. Kanimozhi from the SCAN foundation, in the past two months, there have been a number of reports in the media about cruelty to animals in the name of ABC.

On April 2, around 25 dogs in Lawspet were killed using lethal weapons and logs because they were considered a menace to society.

Recently, there was a report in The Hindu about the veterinary doctor of the Municipality K. Coumarane using a blow pipe to capture dogs.

“It is a mockery to see a professional veterinarian using a method that is meant for wild animals on community dogs,” she said.

The blow pipe, with the injection that is used for wild animals, could puncture vital organs of the dog and even cause instant death, she added. Many newspapers have started carrying stories of “dog menace” but most of them are untrue and unacceptable.

Following these articles, the municipal authorities seem to have increased their efforts to capture dogs using dangerous methods and employing labourers who do not care about the safety of the animals and who do not know anything about animal handling, Ms. Kanimozhi said.

Catching dogs with a rope could strangle the animals to death or even break their necks, paralysing them permanently.

Secondly, the move is a danger to the dog catcher, since the dog will be more prone to violence when caught in this way.

Offering some suggestions for the proper capturing of dogs, R.B. Kannan from the People’s Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) said, places like Bangalore have now switched from using ropes to using what is called a “butterfly net”. Using the net, dog catchers will be able to easily catch the community dogs.

The butterfly net is simply a net that is attached to the end of a stick. The dog catcher will have to simply put the net on top of the dog and scoop it up. Dogs captured in this way will tend to be more docile.

There are several volunteer organisations that are willing to also contribute to the ABC programme to ensure that the dogs are treated in a more humane way. So far, only the SPCA has been given permission to conduct ABC operations and their methods have been violent, Raghu, Secretary of PAWS said.

A few animal welfare organisations, including Animal India Trust, have submitted proposals to the government, but they have been rejected, he said.

By using the butterfly net and other standardised procedures to perform ABC will ensure that the supposed “dog menace” is reduced and at the same time the animals are not handled cruelly, he added.