VISAKHAPATNAM: Smart City Visakhapatnam has over 1.12 lakh stray dogs in eight GVMC zones from Bhimili to Anakapalli, according to latest figures of the corporation’s public health department.
The dog census was conducted by animal husbandry department as part of its periodical survey of all animals living within the city limits.
Animal activists say one fourth of the dogs perished during two spells of Covid-19 pandemic, as street vending of food got shuttered all over the city. Animal lovers too were prevented by police from distributing food.
“Yet the dog population has been increasing annually at the rate of 20 percent,” pointed out founder president of Visakha Society for Protection and Care of Animals (VSPCA) Pradeep Nath.
Talking to Deccan Chronicle, Nath said several guidelines have been issued by Animal Welfare Board of India and Ministry of Environment on birth control among dogs to contain their population as well as administration of anti-rabies vaccine, so that dog population remains static in human habitats.
Initially, GVMC and VSPCA jointly conducted an animal birth control (ABC) programme in 1998, when people demanded mass elimination of stray dogs. In later years, GVMC and VSPCA launched their programmes separately. “We are following guidelines strictly and have better infrastructure to conduct ABC, unlike GVMC that lacks human touch in catching dogs, operating on them and taking post operative care,” Nath maintained.
However, GVMC veterinary officer Dr. Kishore Nathi said GVMC and VSPCA are performing 6,000 ABC surgeries each annually. They are supported by animal husbandry department, which conducts around 2,000 surgeries per annum.
“We have improved our post operative care with recent installation of facilities for dogs, said to be the most loyal among all animals on earth,” Dr. Kishore said. He underlined that anti-rabies vaccines are being given to 15,000 dogs every year....