Hyderabad: Street dogs are either seen as pests and chased out or are seen as security to both residential and commercial areas. They are alert all night and keep thieves and anti-socials at bay.
According to GHMC, as of January 2021, there are around 4,64,000 (stray) community dogs in Hyderabad. Of these, 60 per cent had been sterilized.
In 2007 their population was 7,50,000. The authorities claim the sterilization drive, currently in its last stage, covered 90 per cent of the dogs in the areas of Chandanagar circle, Serilingampally circle, Patancheru circle, Mehdipatnam circle, Quthbullapur circle, and Kapra.
GHMC in association with its affiliated animal welfare organisations do 300 such surgeries on dogs a day.
There are many requests from residents of various colonies to relocate these dogs, as they create a lot of nuisance. “As per the laws introduced by the World Health Organization as well as the Animal Welfare Board of India, killing of community dogs or relocating them is an offence.”
A higher authority from the Veterinary department of GHMC said, “We are on the fast-track mode to make this city rabies-free by the end of this year. As of now, most of the dog population is being controlled by the authorities by following the norms framed by AWBI.”
Jesslina Sahni, an animal rescuer and feeder for around 70 dogs for the past 20 years in different localities, “Many hate having community dogs around. They feel this is a nuisance, and chase them out. They should realize that these community dogs are protecting the area and they belong to the territory. If one is chased out, another will come in and occupy that space.”
Jesslina added, “The unprofessional approach of officials towards community dogs is very saddening. While they are catching dogs for sterilization, they handle them in crude ways. The dog-catchers are untrained men. There is no proper surveillance on what they do with the dogs. As I move around feeding dogs, I come across many new dogs that have been relocated.”
Anupama Tirumalasetty, animal activist, who also takes care of community dogs, said, “Those taking care of community dogs have to be cognizant, see to it that these dogs do not create nuisance for the residents. While taking care of these dogs, training them is also important. They mostly chase the running bikes. Make sure community involvement is there, let others also try and feed stray dogs with snacks.”