Growing population of stray dogs | Animal Birth Control Programme yet to take off

A woman walks amid being surrounded by stray dogs in city centre's Mandir Bagh area.  [Representational Image]
A woman walks amid being surrounded by stray dogs in city centre's Mandir Bagh area. [Representational Image] File/ GK

Srinagar: While the growing population of stray dogs continues to be a concern for the citizens, the Animal Birth Control Programme, the only assured manner to control the population of strays, is yet to take off. As per official figures, only 75 dogs have been sterilized this year.

While the number of dogs in Kashmir is estimated to be over a lakh, the measures to control the population of stray dogs have not taken off yet, putting a question mark on the commitment of the authorities to address this issue. As per the Srinagar Municipal Committee, which runs the sterilization programme for stray dogs at Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences Shuhama, this year 75 dogs have been sterilized. Dr Tawheed Ahmed, SMC Veterinary Officer told Greater Kashmir that it had only been a month since the sterilization had resumed at the facility. “We started on 15 April and till 13 May, 75 dogs have been sterilized,” he said.

By this count, in a day, only two dogs undergo sterilization in a day in Srinagar, a number that the experts feel will not make any difference to the dog population here. Dr Ahmed said that sterilization cannot be carried out around the year at the facility as low temperatures could result in adverse effects on animals. He expected the sterilization number to rise in the coming months. “We had the issue of shortage of transport vehicles, as the only animal van available with us was also used for redressing complaints from localities about aggressive dogs etc,” he said. He said a new vehicle had been procured and it would help in getting an “adequate number of dogs for sterilization. “We can carry out 10-15 sterilizations at Shuhama,” he said.

Asked about the strength of veterinarians available at the sterilization facility, he said, there was only one. “But the doctor can do over 10 surgeries in a day,” he said.

For years, the SMC has promised a faster and more efficient Animal Birth Control Program. A new sterilization facility has been under construction at Tengpora Srinagar but is yet to be put to use.

Srinagar Municipal Commissioner, Athar Amir Khan while speaking to Greater Kashmir said that the facility at Tengpora was complete and ready to undertake sterilizations. He said the contract for sterilization had been awarded to an agency. “The Animal Welfare Board of India has to permit us now for sterilizations. The process is underway and the approval is awaited,” he said.

He said ABC was a very technical process and required expertise. The existing facility at Shumhama had limited capacity, plus we were also constrained with expertise,” he said. The Commissioner assured that in the next year, Kashmir would see thousands of dogs being sterilized every year. “Animal Birth Control Program will run efficiently soon in Srinagar,” he said.

Related Stories

No stories found.
Greater Kashmir