The city finally has an answer to how many stray dogs are there in Bengaluru. The dog census conducted in all 198 wards by the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has revealed that there are 3.09 lakh stray dogs. The previous estimated dog population was approximately 2 lakh in 2006.
The census was taken up by the civic body in association with the Worldwide Veterinary Services (WVS) and Mission Rabies. The census was conducted by WVS free of cost in September this year.
The stray dog population data is important for the BBMP to plan Animal Birth Control (ABC) and Anti Rabies Vaccination (ARV) programmes. The census shows that of the 3.09 lakh strays, only 1.68 lakh are neutered, which is 54.24% of the total population.
The ABC programme, which the BBMP is implementing with help from various animal welfare organisations, has been implemented the best in Yelahanka zone where implementation is 84.24%. It is the least in South zone at 32.85%.
The census also shows that the stray dog population is more in the five outer zones of Mahadevapura, Rajarajeshwarinagar, Dasarahalli, Bommanahalli, and Yelahanka. In these zones, the population of strays is pegged at 1.97 lakh. In the densely populated core zones – East, West and South – the number is 1.09 lakh.
This city-wide survey shows that there are 3.67 dogs per 100 people. However, there is considerable variation in the density of dogs, and the proportion of dogs and people in wards with higher human densities, mostly those in the three core zones.
The census report states that the city-wide door-to-door mass vaccination of the owned dog population against rabies should be conducted as a priority to immunise those dogs in closest contact with people, and to gather information about confinement practices, preferences for reproductive control and identification.
BBMP’s Special Commissioner (Solid Waste Management and Animal Husbandry) D. Randeep pointed out that estimation of the stray dog population is essential for planning rabies control and dog population management activities.
“The census serves as a guide to take up the ABC programme. There will be more targeted focus on zones with higher number of un-neutered female dogs,” he said. “The wards in core zones are densely populated. There are more commercial establishments and more black spots compared to those in outer zones,” he said.
The BBMP is planning to take up a mass vaccination drive. “WVS has agreed to handhold the civic body for the ARV. The pilot is being planned in South zone where we believe it will have high impact. Already, CUPA, that is recognised by the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI), is working in that zone,” he added.