The recent incident of the marathon runner being chased by a dog has highlighted an issue that plagues citizens and is a cause of numerous two-wheeler accidents but sadly doesn’t make headlines!
The High Court of Karnataka has ordered that all stray dogs that cause nuisance (including biting, barking, chasing, etc.) should be culled and the BBMP should maintain a register for the purpose. The court has also said the BBMP can cull the dogs on its own, without contracting out that job to Animal Welfare groups. This portion of the judgement has been given an interim stay by the Supreme Court, which has appointed an amicus curiae to assist it in the matter.
Meanwhile, the dog menace that the high court wanted to put an end to continues. Although the BBMP says they have a central number to call for dog complaints, no one picks up the phone, and most people don’t even know the phone number to call in any case.
Unfortunately, the BBMP is not even following the portions of the high court order that the Supreme Court has not stayed – for instance, maintaining a register of dogs with complaints. Neither has the BBMP done anything to publicise the dog complaints phone number nor to ensure that the helpline works.
In all countries that are “stray dog free”, they are so because animal welfare organisations in those countries are not allowed to put the strays back on the streets. They have to be either adopted or must be sent to a shelter. Owner-less dogs are euthanised painlessly by the animal control department.
Every dog needs an annual vaccination, which is impossible to administer under the present ABC system. Almost two percent of Bengalureans have been bitten by a stray dog at one point of time or another, according to a KIMS report, and strays have therefore become a public health and safety issue. Insisting on pet licencing as a solution to the menace is a joke when some two lakh stray dogs roam the city in packs.
Animal welfare is fine. On the contrary, it cannot be at the cost of people. The city’s silent majority must speak up on this issue....