S. Sundar

Pet animals will also be vaccinated at a nominal fee

MADURAI: The Commissioner of Municipal Administration has drawn up an ambitious programme to sterilise 1.29 lakh stray dogs in five Corporations and 50 municipalities at a cost of Rs.5.78 crore.

The State Government has permitted the local bodies to spend Rs.445 per dog for sterilisation and providing them anti-rabies vaccination. The amount would be reimbursed from the Animal Welfare Board of India.

"We want to do away with stray dog menace by controlling their population only through sterilisation," V. Pitchaiah, Additional Director in the CMA's office, said.

Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960, and the Animals Birth control Rules 2001 prohibit the dogs being killed. He was here to attend a workshop on Animal Birth Control programme in which elected representatives, health officials from the urban local bodies of southern districts participated.

Madurai has the highest number of stray dogs (9,540) followed by Salem (5,925) and Coimbatore (5,427) among the Corporations. However, Madurai has already taken the lead and close to 3,000 dogs have been sterilised since February 2006.

The civic bodies have been advised to carry out the programme in cooperation with local animal welfare organisations. The infrastructure to be set up is one room for surgery and one each for pre and post-operative care.

Biggest challenge

"The biggest challenge in completing the programme within the stipulated six months is finding adequate number of trained veterinary surgeons," Mr. Pitchaiah said.

Special training would be given to veterinary surgeons and they would be paid for each surgery carried out.

Besides, sanitary workers and volunteers would also be trained for catching the animals and in post-operative care, like feeding and cleaning. "Even the domestic dogs would be vaccinated at a nominal fee," he added.

The Madurai Chief Health Officer, N. Kathiresan, mooted the idea of conducting an impact study on dog population after implementing the ABC programme.

The Corporation Commissioner, D.J. Dinakkaren, participated in the workshop. A demonstration of surgery was conducted for the benefit of the participants.