Residents in several streets in Nellithope, Puducherry are in the grip of a severe stray dog problem.
Packs of stray canines roam about in the residential localities, sometimes ferociously chasing children and the elderly, local residents say. In recent days, the residents of Arulpurachi Street, Saint Anthon Street, Market Street, Carpenter Street, Savari Padayachi Street, Othavada Street and Madha Kovil Street have been increasingly concerned about the safety of children, after reports have emerged from rest of the country about attacks by community dogs on children.
The big spike in the stray dog population in the area had prompted a group of residents under the leadership of the All India Youth Federation (AIYF) to approach the Pondicherry Municipality demanding urgent measures to control the dog population in Nellithope.
In a memorandum to Municipal Commissioner Romil Singh Donk, branch secretary of AIYF and resident of Arulpurachi Street V. Murugan said the stray dog population had gone up substantially. He sought the municiplaity’s immediate intervention to bring down the canine population in the area.
Residents, especially children and senior citizens, feel scared to go outside of their homes because of the growing number of community dogs in their locality. “With children often being the victims of stray dog bites, parents are not letting their wards play outside. Sometimes, the dogs become very ferocious and even chase two-wheeler riders,” he added.
P. Saravanan, a resident of the locality, said there are two primary schools, a church and a market in the locality. “People find it scary to walk on the streets because of the growing dog population. People who come from the market with fish and meat are often surrounded by the dogs. They rush menacingly at you,” he said.
According to a senior official in the Municipality, a team was deputed to look into the complaints raised by the residents. “We have done a thorough verification. Though the dog population has gone up, we did not find any rabies-affected dogs. We will be soon starting vaccination of dogs in the locality,” he said.
Overall, the population of stray dogs has gone up in Puducherry due to disruption in Animal Birth Control (ABC) programme, he pointed out.
The Local Administration Department had a few weeks ago finalised the tender to select an organisation to carry out the ABC programme in municipalities and commune panchayats. The Hyderabad-based organisation, Vets Society for Animal Welfare and Rural Development, will soon start the ABC programme, officials said.
The LAD has also constituted a 10-member monitoring committee to oversee the ABC and vaccination programmes. The first meeting of the committee was held recently to fine-tune a strategy to deal with stray dog population, officials said.