Animal rights activists, bureaucrats exchange words
HYDERABAD: An inquiry by the State Human Rights Commission into the dog bite problem here on Monday witnessed heated arguments between animal rights activists led by MP Maneka Gandhi and bureaucrats who were accused of killing dogs indiscriminately by using poison or attacking them with rods.
Ms. Gandhi and several other animal lovers, including actor Amala Akkineni, strongly protested against the action of municipal authorities in hiring dogcatchers and giving them targets for each operation. The teams caught dogs that were already sterilised and vaccinated and subjected them to trauma. They lassoed the dogs and swung them in the air several times before finally dumping them in vans, they said.
Some activists even alleged that the teams took bribes from people to let dogs out of their clutches. The officials, however, denied they resorted to killings. There was no need for them to kill as the situation was not alarming. Only rabies-affected and ferocious dogs were killed, they maintained.
Ms. Gandhi made a strong plea for effective implementation of the Animal Birth Control (ABC) programme to check dog population in the State. She also sought a blanket order on the lines of the one issued by the Tamil Nadu Government banning the killing of dogs. She said the ABC programme of simultaneously sterilising and vaccinating dogs proved successful in curbing dog bites in several States. Ms. Gandhi said a study by World Health Organisation had proved that the ratio of dog bite would go up with killing of dogs. This was because there was a dog-for-dog replacement as hostilities between dogs and human beings increased.
Ms. Gandhi expressed her anger at Cyberabad Deputy Commission of Police E. Damodar when the latter questioned the scientific validity of her explanation.
She went on to elaborate that the dog-for-dog principle worked on the basis of food source available for the stray dogs. The dogs shared the quantity of food available in a particular locality among themselves. If some of them were caught and killed by municipal authorities, dogs from elsewhere would take their place. The new dogs are strangers in that area and they immediately exhibited aggression.