The increase in the number of stray dogs is very evident now and is not surprising when a single pair of dogs can multiply into 60,000 in a life span of about seven years (with 40 per cent pup mortality and 20 per cent adult mortality taken into account) These are the facts that the BBMP has to deal with.
If the number of sterilisations is not more than the number of births, we will be spending the taxpayers’ money and performing Animal Birth Control operations till eternity.
When stray dogs are allowed to proliferate, they will form packs that tend to turn feral and go back to their wild ways of hunting and so we are likely to witness more human mauling.
For serious stray dog management, the first step is to get a stray dog census by an accredited agency, which has not been done. In Bengaluru ,the Kempegowda Institute for Medical Sciences (KIMS) which is the referral institute for rabies and dog bites , has estimated in a 2001 report that over 6000 bites are reported in the city every month if private hospitals and clinics are taken into account as well and says dog bites have become a “public health” problem. The records of the erstwhile Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP) too show that around 28,000 dog bites were treated per year in its clinics and health centres, not counting the figures of private and government hospitals.
The Animal (Dog) Rules, 2001 and Animal Birth Control ( ABC) were made mandatory by the Union Ministry of Culture when it was headed by Ms Maneka Gandhi in 2001 although that Ministry had nothing to do with disease control, public health /nuisance and animals. The Lokayukta of Karnataka has found the Dog rules 2001 ultravires of the parent Act and says they do not have any validity.
Urban dogs are the only animals in the animal kingdom that are not natural predators, and need to be managed in dog pounds run by animal welfare organisations or in homes that adopt them. Those that can’t be sheltered or given a home should be euthanized humanely as is done in all developed countries world-wide. There should also be strict enforcement of laws for keeping / abandoning pet dogs. In our country where sheep, goat, cattle and chicken are mercilessly butchered daily, why is there such a hue and cry about stray dog management?
Even the law favours it as the Karnataka Municipal Act, 1976 in its chapter V (58) says the corporation’s obligatory duties are “destruction of birds and animals causing nuisance or vermin and confinement and destruction of stray and ownerless dogs.”
Moreover, the National Multi-centric Rabies survey report, 2004, brought out by the Association for Prevention and Control of Rabies India, and sponsored by the WHO , recommends a census of dogs or a scientific estimation of dog population and says there is an urgent need to tackle the menace of stray dogs on a war footing. It also calls for more effective municipal licensing of pet dogs and awareness campaigns for better and responsible dog care and management practices as part of the battle against the strays.