Strays send them running for cover focus

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Deadly pack: Not many citizens are as nonchalant as this young man in the presence of stray dogs in Visakhapatnam city.
Deadly pack: Not many citizens are as nonchalant as this young man in the presence of stray dogs in Visakhapatnam city.

B. Madhu Gopal

The canine population is estimated to have grown by about 15,000 in the last one year

GVMC collaborates with VSPCA in implementation of animal birth control

Rabies cases at hospital for communicable diseases up

Visakhapatnam: Stray dogs are having a free run in Greater Visakhpatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC) as the poor citizens are running for cover on the roads. The stoppage of the culling of canines following a court order has led to unbridled growth in the dog population during the past few years.

Despite the implementation of the Animal Birth Control (ABC) programme, the canine population is estimated to have grown by about 15,000 in the last one year. The strays haven’t spared the GVMC Office, Government Hospital for Chest and Communicable Diseases, King George Hospital and most other government hospitals.

A couple of years ago a staunch dog lover refused to buy the theory that stray dogs were a menace on the roads. He extolled the benefits of strays quoting studies that they were preventing thefts and robberies.

It could be true to some extent but more than that the strays are sending a chill down the spine of unsuspecting motorists, morning walkers and employees who have to return home late at night.

“Reaching my home after 11 p.m. on my bike scares me as the dogs chase the bike in packs. The well-built strays thrive on the left-over non-veg parcels, meat wastes and food particles that are dumped in large garbage bins not cleared for days on end,” says V. Krishna Murthy, a resident of Pandurangapuram.

M. Satish, a resident of Lalithanagar was going on his bike one afternoon when he came across two canines engaged in a fight in the middle of the road at Seethammadhra. Taking care not to come in their way, he tried to move ahead but to his dismay the canines ran ahead of his vehicle. His bike hit the dogs and he fell off the bike resulting in a hairline fracture on his leg.

“GVMC has been collaborating with the Visakhapatnam Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (VSPCA) for the last two years in the implementation of the ABC programme. The VSPCA is sterilising 10,000 dogs a year. The cost of these operations is shared equally by the GVMC and the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI),” according to the Veterinary Medical Officer Vadarevu Sunil Kumar.

Sterilisation cost

“We have sterilised 20,000 dogs in the last two years. Though we have a capacity to operate upon 60 to 80 dogs a day, we are able to sterilise only 35 to 40 dogs a day as the GVMC authorities are meeting the cost of only about 5,000 dogs a year and the AWBI finances an equal number of dogs,” says Pradeep Nath of VSPCA.

“We have plans to increase the number of operations to 20,000 a year. We are unable to stick to area-wise operations as the GVMC authorities are insisting on attending to complaints first,” he adds.

The number of rabies cases reported at the Government Hospital for Chest and Communicable Diseases went up from 38 in 2006 to 45 in 2007. The number of cases registered during the first nine months this year is 28.

There could be a number of other patients who are not even brought to the Communicable Diseases Hospital (CDH). They take treatment locally at private clinics and the deaths go unreported.

“When a mad dog bites a person, treatment should be started as soon as possible. The patient should be given five doses of Rabipur or Verorab. An immunoglobin injection should also be given within one week after the bite,” says CDH Chief B.L.N. Prasad.



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