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Put a leash on menace of stray dogs

Despite the horrifying tales of dog bites in our towns and cities, the municipal corporations have failed to take concrete steps to check the growing menace of stray dogs. Apropos the editorial “Stray dog menace” (November 7), canines bite and maul people everyday even as the policies to curb this menace remain ineffective.

The failure of the government to control the proliferation of stray dog population is a matter of concern for citizens, especially the children, elderly, two-wheelers drivers, poor persons sleeping on the roadsides and pedestrians. Treating a dog bite is a costly affair and everbody cannot afford the anti-rabies vaccination nor is everybody aware of its deadly infection.

In our country, there are around 30 million stray dogs and every year, around 30,000 persons die of rabies due to stray dog bites. The Animal Birth Control (ABC) plan of the government to control breeding has been unsuccessful, perhaps due to inadequate funds for the programme. People For Animals (PFA) has proposed a novel and scientific method for the sterilisation of stray dogs: the catch, neuter, vaccine and release (CNVR) method. This method should be implemented all over India.

It is imperative that the government and animal welfare societies work together to address the problem. The municipal corporations should implement an effective garbage disposal system to keep stray dogs away. Also, there is need to keep a track on new researches in vaccine and economic modes of sterilisation of canines before the problem gets grimmer.

Dr S.K. Aggarwal, Punjab


This refers to an editorial “Stray dog menace” and news items “Stray dogs maul old man to death” and “Tackling rabies an uphill task in Sangrur district” (November, 5). Criminal neglect and apathy of most states in India to save the public from the onslaught of stray dogs and control their ever-proliferating population is the reason for a dog bite every 30 seconds and thousands of rabies deaths annually. This dismal scenario resulted in the notification of the Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules, 2001, which stipulate that dogs be sterilised to prevent multiplication and permitted to live in nature before their population gradually diminishes.

The control of stray dog population by sterilisation and immunisation (ABC-AR) is the responsibility of the civic bodies and state governments. The role of an animal welfare organisation is to assist them and give guidance on policy matters. Sadly the grit, determination and priority of the civic bodies are woefully inadequate. The states must take a cue from the coordination and cooperation of the civic bodies and animal welfare organisations in Chennai, Jaipur and Goa, where the dog population has been substantially controlled. The cost of ABC-AR per female dog is Rs 1,000, which is apparently not within the means of civic bodies and the reason for them keeping at a distance from this programme. This bottleneck has never been removed, making the scheme impracticable.

A safe oral anti-rabies vaccine and affordable chemo-sterilent that is expected to come up in the coming years will simplify the costly and cumbersome dog control programme. Scientists should put in more efforts to make the oral vaccine and chemo-sterilent available soon. Till then, dog control will remain a distant dream.

Dr Soshil Rattan, Amritsar


The editorial was quite illustrative and timely. Previously, the infectious stray dogs were killed by the local civic authorities, but since the enactment of the law banning the killing of animals, the population of stray dogs has increased enormously. Now dogs can be seen squatting in good numbers in every nook and corner of every locality. They are a terror for the passersby. The dog bite becomes dangerous especially when there is a cut and sputum (which is poisonous) penetrates in the human body.

The dog bite can prove to be fatal even after many years if not properly treated in time. The pedestrians, old and small children are specially vulnerable. The stray dog menace has reached an alarming stage. Serious incidents of dog bites are reported frequently in the media, but they seem to fall on deaf ears of the authorities concerned. To control the growth of population of dogs, their sterilisation should be carried out on a war footing. Adequate shelter houses should be constructed across the country for stray dogs. The state governments should step in vigorously to curb the menace of stray dogs.

DP JINDAL, Mandi Gobindgarh

Train teachers to be sensitive

William Arthur Ward said: “The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” DP Singh in his article “Sensitivity training must for effective teaching” (November 12) has laid emphasis on the need of giving appropriate training to teachers. Very often, teachers in classrooms simply read from the prepared notes which are seldom updated. The reality is that there is a difference between reading, speaking and teaching. Teaching is an art which has the ingredients of compassion, psychology and effective communication, coupled with detailed knowledge of the subject.

It is a matter of concern that at the time of selection, neither are teachers evaluated regarding teaching proficiency nor is there any training module to prepare them in teaching skills. This needs the attention of educationists and policy makers.

Dr V K Anand, Patiala



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