BBMP, animal rights organisations draw flak from Santosh Hegde
Handling of garbage clearance invites sharp criticism BBMP says law does not permit culling of stray dogs
BANGALORE: The Lokayukta on Friday pulled up the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) officials, including Commissioner K. Jairaj, and four animal rights organisations for failing to control the stray dog menace in the city, which resulted in the death of two children in two months and injuries to several others.
Lokayukta N. Santosh Hegde and Upa Lokayukta G. Patri Basavana Goud called the meeting following the mauling of five-year-old Manjunath at the BEML Quarters on Wednesday by a pack of 15 street dogs.
His death follows that of eight-year-old Sridevi, who was bitten to death by stray dogs in Chandra Layout on January 5.
The BBMP came in for sharp criticism for its shoddy handling of garbage clearance and also for lack of seriousness in addressing the issue of stray dogs. "See the suffering of the families of victims of dog bites," Mr. Hegde said.
He had strong words for four animal rights organisations Animal Rights Fund, Krupa, Karuna and CUPA, involved in Animal Birth Control (ABC) Programme of stray dogs. "If you have love for stray dogs, you should own up the responsibility of ensuring that they do not bite people. There should be some consideration for the life of human beings."
Mr. Jairaj said the BBMP had been continuing with catching the stray dogs following Sridevi's death. The dogs were being sterilised, vaccinated and treated for various skin infections before being released in the same areas they were caught. He brought to the Lokayukta's notice that this was the procedure prescribed under the ABC rules, adding that the law did not permit culling of the dogs. He then sought the Lokayukta's direction to cull them.
In response, Mr. Hegde said the BBMP personnel should first take away dogs that form a pack. There should be proper clearance of garbage that attracted stray dogs.
"I can show you several places in the Cubbon Park itself," he said, adding the BBMP should be tough on commercial establishments, shopkeepers and residents who litter public places.
Mr. Hegde and Mr. Goud did not agree with the BBMP proposal to adopt stray dogs and tranquillise and train ferocious ones.
The Lokayukta, who favours culling, said he planned to contest the order of the Karnataka High Court against the report of his predecessor, N. Venkatachala, who had stated that the BBMP was duty bound to put to sleep stray dogs.
The animal rights organisations explained the ABC methods, for which the BBMP was paying Rs. 50 lakh per year for each organisation. The members said incidents of dog bites were "stray cases" resulting from people feeding the animals.
Mr. Hegde said considering the ABC Programme had not helped bring down dog-bite cases, the four organisations should come forward with constructive suggestions "keeping in mind the people on the street."