Patiala, November 30
Cases of suspected rabid dogs attacking humans, wild animals and even other dogs are on the rise in and around Patiala. For a state with around 3 lakh stray dogs and which has reported seven lakh dog-bite cases in the past five years, the spread of rabies can be threatening, both for stray dogs and the residents.
While a local NGO, Compassion for Animals Welfare Association (CAWA), dealing with the animal birth control project, has raised an alarm over the rising number of such cases, the authorities concerned are yet to initiate a drive in this regard.
A senior government official said lack of post-mortem facilities for suspected rabid dogs meant that there was little that could be done till a confirmation report came. “Last month, we sent three such reports through the Animal Husbandry Department, but the reports are yet to arrive. Punjab needs to do more or else the results will be bad,” he added.
Information collected by The Tribune suggested that 48 suspected rabies-infected dogs had been reported and CAWA managed to catch 33 of these. “While seven of them were eauthanized, 26 died a natural death. Five of the suspected rabies-bitten dogs have been kept under observation,” says a letter shot to the district administration on Wednesday.
CAWA campaign director Prapti Bajaj said the spread of rabies among dogs at this alarming pace was worrisome and the authorities needed to take immediate steps. “Though people should not get in panic mode, they should be vigilant and observe the dog they suspect,” she said.
In this regard, Patiala DC Sakshi Sawhney said she had already apprised the corporation officials about this and even written to the executive officers in all towns of Patiala district to check such dogs and immediately form teams and catch all rabies suspected dogs. “I have also called a meeting of various departments to check the spread of rabies and the health officials will be told to ensure rabies vaccination at all health centres,” she stated.
1.46 lakh cases in 9 months
As per the data compiled by the Health Department, 1.46 lakh cases of dog-bite were reported from January to September. The 20th Livestock Census-2019 states that Punjab has over 2.90 lakh stray dog population. In the last five years, the state has reported over seven lakh cases of dog-bite. The actual number could be much higher as these cases don’t include the ones which were given treatment at private clinics and hospitals or those who did not seek treatment at all.
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