Chennai

Corporation to intensify sterilisation drive against stray dogs

Residents in various parts of the city have complained about the menace of community dogs on streets, while Chennai Corporation officials claim they are unable to go beyond control measures of sterilisation and vaccination. With the availability of food in overflowing dustbins and their natural instinct to be territorial, community dogs bark at residents, chase people on vehicles and, in some instances, even bite or scratch residents.

Thanigaiarasu Govindaraju, a resident of Ashtalakshmi Nagar in Valasaravakkam, says that his area had a number of aggressive community dogs, causing hardship to motorists and small children. He says his daughter was injured after being chased by dogs.

Over 7 km away from Valasaravakkam, T. Gunaseelan, of Varadarajapuram in Ambattur, says that because of his late hours at work, he finds the ride back home traumatic. Once, while riding back from his office on Anna Salai after work, he fell off his two-wheeler after being chased by a pack of community dogs near his house.

S. Raghunathan, a resident of Krishna Nagar in Perumbakkam (near Medavakkam), lives at the other end of the city, but complains of the same problem.

He says he had a narrow escape from a pack of dogs while travelling with his friend on a two-wheeler, as the community dogs came running along with the vehicle, snapping at their heels. He says the 4th Main Road of Krishna Nagar became crowded with these dogs during night time, and many motorcyclists were forced to take other routes because they were scared of the chasing they will be subjected to.

Motorcyclists in several parts of the city dread riding their vehicles during night time because of community dogs chasing them down. They target their ire at the civic body in charge of the city. Mr. Thanigaiarasu says: “There is no use in the Chennai Corporation taking the stray dogs away for sterilisation and bringing them back again.”

‘Within rules’

However, health officials of the Corporation claim that they are within the law as per the Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules 2001.

A senior official of the civic body says the ABC Rules clearly state that the community dogs need to be sterilised and after giving them the anti-rabies vaccine, they should be returned to the same locality.

The official, explaining the ABC measures taken against the stray dogs, says the civic body has 15 dog catching vehicles and engages around 50 dog catchers for the 15 zones in the city. He says: “On an average, 80 to 100 dogs are caught daily and taken to the ABC centres comprising three centres run by the Chennai Corporation, one by the Blue Cross of India and one by the SPCA in Vepery. The dogs are sterilised and also given vaccination and then left at the same place after a week. There are dogs which are yet to be given anti-rabies vaccine and could pose a threat to the population but we are taking steps to identify and vaccinate them.”

‘Numbers down’

While the residents in the city fear the stray dogs population have been growing in numbers or have remained static, an official of the civic body says the numbers have come down when compared to the census taken in 1996.

The official says that in the latest survey done through an app in the 200 divisions in the city, the population of stray dogs is at 58,000, with the Ambattur zone topping at 7,383, Madhavaram zone having a population of 6,450 and Tondiarpet close to 5,000. In the 1996 manual survey conducted by the civic body to identify the stray dog population, it was found to be around 85,000.

The Chennai Corporation has plans to intensify the vaccination and ABC procedures in the coming months, as part of which a pilot project, ‘Mass Sterilisation and Vaccination project,’ is to be undertaken.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2021 6:09:37 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/corporation-to-intensify-sterilisation-drive-against-stray-dogs/article26380173.ece

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