The community dog population in the country is increasing and the issue needs to be addressed immediately lest it should become a major problem, according to Maj. Gen. R. M. Kharb, Chairman Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI).
Talking to journalists here on Tuesday, Maj. Gen. Kharb said the Board was concerned about the spurt in the community dog population, which is estimated to be around 25 million. Of the total, annually 1.5 lakh community canines had been sterilised and anti-rabies vaccine administered with the fund of Rs. 24.9 crore, allotted by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests. The funds were not sufficient to intensify the sterilisation of community dogs in the country. In order to overcome this problem, it had been proposed to accept donations and gifts from corporate houses. The Ministry had also given its consent to the proposal, he said.
A decade ago, only a few hundred animal welfare organisations (AWOs) were functioning in the country and the funds allotted by the Ministry were sufficient to support them. Now, a total of 2,798 animal welfare organisations were functioning and the Ministry’s allocation was insufficient, he said.
During 2007-08, the State government agreed to introduce animal birth control (ABC) programme in 50 municipalities.
For this, it had also agreed to provide Rs. 5 crore and the Board on its part allocated Rs. 1.5 crore. But, the amount was not fully allocated and gradually the panchayats had also lost interest in the ABC programme, Maj. Gen. Kharb pointed out. In order to train more veterinarians in the ABC programme, the Board, in association with Worldwide Vet Services, had launched a three-year programme recently.