SPOTLIGHT | Bengaluru

Bengaluru sees 10,000 dog bite cases this year alone

Data of the BBMP shows that 52,262 dog bite cases have been reported to the civic body from 2020 to July 2022. 

Data of the BBMP shows that 52,262 dog bite cases have been reported to the civic body from 2020 to July 2022.  | Photo Credit: SUDHAKARA JAIN

Subhas Gowda, an IT employee in HSR Layout, who returns home after work in an IT firm in Bellandur around midnight, has to contend with aggressive stray dogs which chase his bike every day. In July, during one such episode, in his attempt to escape from the dogs, he fell off the bike and a dog bit him.

After hospitalisation for a week after suffering a fracture in his hand following the accident, he has now requested for day shift in his company to avoid dangerous dog attacks late at night. “It is scary coming home during the night on a two-wheeler. It is not just one or two dogs chasing the rider. I was chased by a pack of strays on Bommanahalli main road and bitten by a dog after falling from the bike while avoiding them,” he recalled. 

Crores spent

Bengaluru has seen nearly 10,000 people bitten by stray dogs this year till July, while the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) is still struggling with the sterilisation programme. Despite crores of rupees being spent by the civic body, stray dogs, people say, continue to pose a danger to pedestrians and motorists in many places.

Data of the BBMP showed that 52,262 dog bite cases have been reported to the civic body from 2020 to July 2022. BBMP officials concede that the city’s stray dog number is rising. According to the last dog census (in 2019), the number of dogs stood at 3.09 lakh. The previously estimated dog population was approximately 2 lakh in 2006. BBMP officials said that they were unable to take the census for two years due to the pandemic and a fresh census will be done soon.

In 2020, 25,020 dog bite cases were reported to the Public Health Information and Epidemiological Cell (PHIEC), while in 2021, the city reported a lesser number of dog bite cases - 17,325 while this year, in seven months, the dog bite cases have already crossed 10,000 mark.

The dog census in all 198 wards in the city in 2019 estimated the number of stray dogs at 3.09 lakh, of which around 54% are neutered.

The dog census in all 198 wards in the city in 2019 estimated the number of stray dogs at 3.09 lakh, of which around 54% are neutered. | Photo Credit: Bhagya Prakash K

The increasing number of dog-bite cases is worrying as they can lead to death or severe health complications, point out animal activists. Speaking to The Hindu, Suhas Shetty, an animal welfare activist, said, “Especially when the dog involved is a stray that hasn’t been vaccinated against rabies, it is very dangerous. Citizens have to be very careful with the stray dogs, especially during nights. Mostly, the victims will be children, so parents or guardians should be careful.”

Feeding strays

He pointed out how the stray dog issue is a sensitive one as there are dog lovers who like to take care of and feed stray dogs as they see them as guardians of the streets, while there are those who think of them as dangerous. “The only solution is that the civic body implements animal birth control (ABC) and gives anti-rabies vaccines (ARV) to dogs. But unfortunately, the BBMP is not implementing the ABC programme with any seriousness,” he added.

Meanwhile, the BBMP officials say that they, along with various NGOs, are working to reduce the number stray dog bite cases in the city. Officials said that they have done several awareness programmes on stray dogs and educated the public on how to behave with dogs and how to avoid contracting rabies.

A senior BBMP official from the animal husbandry department said, “There are three pillars to any awareness drive, which are surveillance, vaccination, and awareness. We have been achieving the first two pillars and now we are also set out to scale up our efforts in creating awareness to the general public”.

Dedicated helpline

He informed that BBMP had launched a dedicated rabies helpline on August 15, 2020, to strengthen surveillance efforts where residents can call the helpline to report suspected cases of rabid dogs and a dedicated team picks up the animal from the location and quarantines it.

Meanwhile, the BBMP, which suspended its Information Education and Communication (IEC) programme on stray dogs years ago, will resume it soon. IEC programmes were held at schools, slums and other vulnerable areas. BBMP Health Commissioner Trilok Chandra said, “The BBMP, along with NGOs and Assistant Directors for Veterinary Department, will take up the IEC programme where important information about anti-rabies vaccination will be shared. It will sensitise children about various aspects of stray dogs issue.”


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Printable version | Aug 12, 2022 1:35:13 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/bengaluru-sees-10000-dog-bite-cases-this-year-alone/article65751119.ece