Kerala

Death sentence for killer stray dogs

At least 90,000 people were menaced by feral dogs in 2014, according to a conservative government estimate. File photo

At least 90,000 people were menaced by feral dogs in 2014, according to a conservative government estimate. File photo  

The State government on Friday said that “rabid and dangerous” stray dogs would be culled.

An all-party meeting chaired by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy entrusted local self-government institutions with the task.

The conference agreed that the stray dog menace had spiralled out of control. It posed a clear and present threat to public life. At least 90,000 people were menaced by feral dogs last year, according to a conservative government estimate.

They included infants, women, students, pedestrians, senior citizens, early morning walkers and two-wheeler riders.

Feral dogs also attacked an unknown number of livestock and poultry. Rural communities suffered most. The loss to society in terms of working days and medical expenses was unquantifiable.

The State was ill-equipped to handle the influx of dog bite victims. Anti-rabies vaccination and medication were expensive and in short supply.

The public relied heavily on private hospitals for medication. Dog bite treatment was almost 200 per cent dearer in the private sector than in government hospitals.

The meeting did not sanction indiscriminate culling of dogs.

However, it saw no legal impediment in culling dangerous canines.

Animal birth control programs and better waste management should back the current drive.

Illegal slaughter should be curbed and animal waste better disposed.

Vaccinating a stray and tagging it cost the public exchequer Rs 1,200 at current rates. The process required to be repeated once in two years and costs could increase.

Veterinarians were in short supply. A stray bitch bred an estimated 360 puppies in its life span.

The number of feral dogs had increased exponentially in the past 5 years. Large packs roam public places, instilling fear in citizens.

The meeting had its lighter moments also. One delegate said that any decision to kill dogs would seem arbitrary because strays were not represented in the meeting.

Another said that estranged neighbours could poison each others pets and state that the Chief Minister had sanctioned the culling of dangerous animals.

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Printable version | Feb 19, 2020 3:27:31 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/death-sentence-for-killer-dogs/article7406055.ece

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