Bengaluru

Sterilisation, vaccination programmes fail to make headway

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

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

It was in 2000 that the city’s civic body launched the birth control programme, touting it as a long-term solution to the stray dog menace. The programme calls for the systematic neutering of strays. Over two decades later, Bruat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) officials told The Hindu that the civic body is fighting an uphill battle against nature.

“Dogs have two annual breeding cycles, with pregnancy lasting 60-62 days, and they give birth to six to eight puppies per cycle. Of this, half of them are usually female. Within 10 to 12 months, the puppies reach maturity and start reproducing on their own. The rate of reproduction is rapid and the birth control programme can only slowly take effect,” admitted an official.

The official conceded that the manpower shortage and involvement of fewer NGOs had affected the programme. To control the stray dog menace, extend animal birth control (ABC) and give anti-rabies vaccines (ARV) to dogs, the BBMP has asked the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) to involve more NGOs to carry out the tasks.

On an average, 10 dogs are sterilised daily and given ARV by the agencies who are tasked to implement ABC and ARV programmes.

On an average, 10 dogs are sterilised daily and given ARV by the agencies who are tasked to implement ABC and ARV programmes. | Photo Credit: FILE PHOTO

The Animal Husbandry department of the BBMP says the implementation of ABC, which is neutering the dogs, has become a difficult task for the civic body as the stray dogs are very agile and quick to hide from the dog catchers, while very few NGOs have been recognised to implement the programme. 

Another senior BBMP official said, “We have urged AWBI to accord recognition to more organisations for the ABC and ARV programs. The main problem is that there are very few organisations that are recognised by the AWBI to carry out the ABC programme.” 

Citizens who spot dogs without notched ears in their areas can call the BBMP zone office or helpline numbers. According to BBMP, notched ear means the dog has been sterilised and vaccinated.

The dog census in all 198 wards in the city in 2019 estimated the stray dog population at 3.09 lakh, of which around 54% are neutered. The BBMP has neutered 1,81,582 stray dogs in 2019 in the city, while 2,53,536 dogs have been given ARV, according to data from the BBMP. 

On an average, 10 dogs are sterilised daily and given ARV by the agencies who are tasked to implement ABC and ARV programmes. Each ward has its pickup vehicle by the BBMP to capture dogs and take them to the NGOs’ shelters for surgery. The NGOs are paid ₹ 1,200 for sterilising and ₹ 150 for vaccinating the dog.

But NGOs working on the ground are facing challenges, which include catching the dogs. “If we target ten dogs, we only manage to capture hardly two to four dogs as the strays hide in culverts and drains,” said a person working with an NGO. 

Last month, after meeting with senior BBMP officials, Karnataka Animal Husbandry Minister Prabhu Chauhan said that the animal husbandry department will make Bengaluru free of stray dogs. He had announced that the department is planning to bring dogs under one shelter where they can be rescued and properly taken care of.

Manjunath Shinde, assistant director at RR Nagar Zone’s Animal Husbandry department, said that the ABC and ARV programmes are going well in the city. “The dedicated helpline for rabies, which was started by BBMP in 2020 to increase rabies surveillance across all the eight zones, has been working well to manage the issue related to dog bites. Our helpline squad is also conducting intensive monitoring at the ward level itself and we are isolating suspected rabid dogs,” he added.


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Printable version | Aug 11, 2022 8:15:03 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/sterilisation-vaccination-programmes-fail-to-make-headway/article65755828.ece