With authorities failing to curb the ever-growing population of stray dogs, the canines pose serious threat to people in the summer capital.
People are up in arms against the Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) for sitting over sterilization of the stray dogs—which has over the years resulted in manifold increase in population of the canines.
Presence of scores of dogs in various habitations including Khanyar, Nowpora, Batwara, Shivpora, Habba Kadal, Rambagh and Solina has hampered smooth movement of people. The problem is severe in city-centre Lal Chowk and its adjoining areas where dozens of stray dogs are present on roads.
"Authorities have failed to check this serious problem," said Abid Ahmad, a commuter at Hari Singh High Street.
Residents of Sonwar alleged that the stray dogs outnumber human population in the area. "The problem has assumed horrendous dimensions. Due to presence of hundreds of stray dogs, we cannot even venture out of our homes, particularly during evenings and mornings," they said.
The stray dogs are mostly present near garbage dumps and food outlets.
"Stray dogs have spread terror in our locality. Our children fear to move out even during day. The dumper bins placed outside DAV school by SMC have turned out to be a breeding ground for dogs. We appeal to SMC officials to take measures to check the canine population in the area," said a group of inhabitants of Jawahar Nagar.
Recently, stray dogs attacked and injured many employees in Government Dental College here. "Recently, a senior doctor was attacked and injured by a pack of dogs in hospital premises," said a medico. He added that scores of stray dogs are on prowl in the hospital, posing treat to all including visitors.
The canine population has witnessed manifold increase in various areas including Lal Chowk, Bemina, Qamarwari, Batamaloo, Rawalpora, Khaniyar, Razikadal, Jawaharnagar and Padshahibagh.
A large number of canines present on roads often attack pedestrians. Health authorities say that above 50000 people, mostly children, have been bitten by stray dogs in the past four years. They said some of the victims have died of rabies.
An official said that there are around 2000 dog bite cases reported from Srinagar every year and symptoms of rabies are usually non-specific and suggest involvement of the respiratory, gastrointestinal or central nervous systems.
Records at Srinagar's Anti-Rabies Clinic reveal that 12 dog bite-related deaths have occurred in past five years alone. "People throw food packets on the streets and these attract dogs. When someone tries to clear it, the canines bite them. There is a need to keep the streets and roads clean," said one of the officials of SMC Srinagar.
"On our side, we are quick at providing anti-rabies drugs to hospitals and anti-rabies clinics, but municipal authorities must act," said a doctor at SMHS Hospital. According to official figures, there are over 90,000 stray dogs in Srinagar.