Inapt handling by civic body compounds stray dog problem

No survey to determine the exact or approximate canine population

Inapt handling by civic body compounds stray dog problem

The matter of notifying bylaws pertaining to stray animals is under consideration of the government.

Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, February 16

While the population of stray dogs in the city keeps proliferating, and the menace of dog bite cases has assumed alarming proportions, the Municipal Corporation, it seems, is finding it unable to come to terms with the situation even though the aggrieved residents have knocked at the door of the Punjab Human Rights Commission (PHRC) as well to save them from this life-threatening problem. To make the matters worse, the state government is also oblivious to the canine danger looming large on the people.

In its reply submitted to an appeal case filed by the Council of RTI Activists before the PHRC, the MC had denied that it was not alive to the increasing population of stray dogs in the city and that necessary steps for control of the dog population, such as sterilization, were not being taken.

The MC had asserted that during the period 2015-19, as many as 39,000 dogs were sterilised at an expenditure of Rs 2.96 crore and further necessary steps, as required, were also being taken.

However, what the MC failed to explain to the PHRC that no survey to determine the exact, or even approximate population of stray dogs in the city had been conducted as laid down in the ‘Comprehensive Scheme for Control of Dog Population’ framed by the Local Government, Punjab, in July 2013 in compliance with orders made by the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

Further, the MC had taken a stand before the Commission that section 325 of the Punjab Municipal Corporation Act 1976 pertaining to ‘Registration and Control of Dogs’ was not being implemented because the ‘Punjab Municipal (Registration and Proper Control of Dogs) Bye-Laws 2006’ already adopted by the MC in a resolution passed in March 2008 were not notified by the state government and published in Official Gazette.

To drive home the point that even the state government was not serious about the problem of stray dogs, he cited information obtained under the Right to Information Act from the Directorate of Local Government, Punjab, in the appeal case 3334 of 2019 which says that the matter of notifying bylaws pertaining to stray animals was under consideration of the government.

He further quoted information provided by the SMO of Civil Hospital, Ludhiana, under the RTI Act which revealed 7,619 cases of dog bite were reported during January 2018 - March 2019. “But taking into account, cases of dog bites at other hospitals including private nursing homes, it would be safe to assume the number to be almost double which worked out to almost to 50 cases per day which was alarming, if anything,” said Council of RTI Activists president Rohit Sabharwal.

The MC Senior Veterinary Officer, Dr YP Singh, could not be contacted even after repeated attempts.

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