Govt’s new job: Counting dogs
Starts Fresh Census,Paints Canines Pink
Srinagar, Sep 11: Unsatisfied with its own census of stray dogs, the state Government Tuesday started the exercise afresh in Srinagar by painting the canines pink in collaboration with a private agency.
The new census has been started on the instructions of Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) while senior officials in the state Government accepted the directions.
Around a year back the state Government announced in the Legislative Assembly that the accurate population of stray dogs in Srinagar was 91,110. But the AWBI does not look impressed with the Government statement.
The new exercise has been started at a time when everyday around a dozen people fall prey to dog bites while some including children have even died in the past few years.
THE COLORFUL CENSUS:
The new census is being done by Humane Society of India (HSI), an NGO, while the Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) is assisting the work. The dogs are being painted pink by the census people, a team from outside the state which is being hosted by the J&K Government.
THE NEW LOGIC:
Instead of the practical way of counting dogs, as was done last year, this time a formula will be tried. The new census, as per officials, is being done under Lincoln Index technique of population survey.
“The Lincoln Index provides a way to measure population sizes of individual animal species, in this case of stray dogs. It is based on a capture /mark / recapture method,” said an official associated with the census which started today.
“In theory, the technique involves sampling a population of animals and then marking all of the individuals captured in a recognizable way. We are doing it by colouring the dogs pink,” he added.
“The painted animals,” he said “are then released back into the population and left to mingle for a suitable period of time. Once they have become thoroughly mixed into the population again, the population is re-sampled.”
He further explained: “The assumption is then made that the proportion of marked animals in the second sample is the same as the proportion of colored animals to non-colored within the whole population. Enough time must be allowed to elapse for complete mixing to have occurred.”
“Thereafter a complex mathematical formula is applied on the figures to know the total population,” he added.
The SMC Veterinary Officer, Dr Javed Ahmed Rather while confirming the start of the new census said the exercise has been started from Lal Chowk Ward adding that stray dogs were being “skillfully marked pink.”
RUBBISHING OLD TECHNIQUE:
In the past census, officials said, the stray dogs were practically counted one-by-one. Besides, the Animal Husbandry Department had testified the findings of the SMC exercise.
“With two Government departments having endorsed the census and the same being declared on the floor of the House, it should have been endorsed. But by doing this exercise the Government is contradicting its own statement,” said a senior vet, requesting not to be named.
The National Conference-led Government has often come under severe criticism for seemingly giving preference to rights of stray dogs over humans. While the Government has been preventing the people from staging protests against dog menace, it has been ensuring that not even rabid dogs are killed. Some two years back the Government revoked its shoot-at-sight orders to kill rabid dogs overnight. In a separate incident, a high level probe was ordered by SMC to see if any dogs were being killed though the complaints were found untrue.
When contacted, SMC Commissioner Dr GN Qasba downplayed the matter saying it was an “exercise being done on the recommendations of AWBI.” “Moreover we are not doing it but our staff is only assisting them,” he said.
To a question that what about the statement of MOS Home and Srinagar MLA Nasir Aslam Wani on the floor of the House that ‘only’ 91,110 dogs are present in Srinagar, Dr Qasba said: “We do strongly stand by the statement.”
The Government has been looking at “time consuming and costly sterilization” as sole solution to dog menace. Till now, however, a million dollar question posed by then Chief Justice FM Ibrahim Kalifullah remains unanswered: Will a dog stop biting after sterilization?
Lastupdate on : Tue, 11 Sep 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 11 Sep 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 12 Sep 2012 00:00:00 IST
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