Blowpipe with syringe used to sedate community dogs for ABC procedure
Traditionally, dog catchers in Puducherry have been using ropes to capture community dogs in order to take them for ABC (Animal Birth Control) procedure. This method has received a lot of flak from animal rights groups and the general public, since the dog pulls at the rope once it is lassoed and often is flung into the truck.
Following several complaints, officials from the Animal Husbandry Department in New Delhi visited Puducherry and asked the Municipality to adopt different methods to capture the dogs. They suggested using a net to catch the community dogs, but since the dog could get caught in the net, capturing would be much more difficult. The Puducherry Municipality is currently exploring various other options to capture these community dogs.
On Tuesday night, for the first time, Municipality veterinarian K. Coumarane used a blowpipe containing a syringe, which would sedate the dogs and allow them to be taken in for ABC.
In the course of the evening, with the help of Forest Department officials, the Municipality managed to catch two dogs, of which one was pregnant and so they let it go. The other dog has been neutered and released.
Although this method does not harm the animal, there were several drawbacks to using this. The blowpipe method cannot be used in open spaces, since the dog has to be identified and targeted. Unless the veterinarian has practice in dealing with these instruments, it will be difficult to implement.
Further, the blowpipe and syringes were taken from the Forest Department and they were too thick and the dosage of medicine was too high to be used on community dogs. Buying new syringes and medication was very expensive, Dr. Coumarane said.
Since this method was not as effective as was anticipated, they were now considering using a job stick, which would contain the sedative at the end of a long stick. Hopefully, this method would work better, he added.
The officials had asked the dog catchers to catch the dogs by hand, but considering some of these dogs could be ferocious, this would not be possible, he said.
Until a proper method could be identified, the Department would be outsourcing their dog-capturing activities to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA, which charged Rs. 445 per dog, he said.