Stray dogs on prowl in Srinagar

SMC in slumber, sterilisation negligible
A woman walks amid heavy presence of stray dogs in the heart of city Centre Lalchowk's Mandir Bagh, Gaw Kadal, Friday 1 October 2021. [File]
A woman walks amid heavy presence of stray dogs in the heart of city Centre Lalchowk's Mandir Bagh, Gaw Kadal, Friday 1 October 2021. [File]Special arrangement

Srinagar: Amid rise in stray dog population and canine bite cases in the summer capital, Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) is only able to carry out sterilisation of just 10 to 15 dogs per day.

The 10 to 15 dogs sterilisation per day is as per official figures which residents in Srinagar believe can be much lower otherwise.

Locals said SMC’s ambitious dog sterilisation programme is yet to take off while the increasing population of dogs is posing threat to human beings.

To gear up the sterilisation and have satisfactory results, SMC was supposed to outsource the programme for stray dogs to an expert agency so that sterilisation of the canine population can be carried out on a large scale in a time-bound manner.

“For a year now we have been asking authorities to check the dog menace but nothing is done. Dozens of dogs are roaming in Dalgate. It is risky to go out without accompanying someone” said Muneer Gul, a local from Dalgate.

Various localities also alleged that no one is paying heed to their complaints at SMC about the presence of dogs in their localities.

Earlier this year, the SMC officials have been saying that they will set up three new sterilization centers for the canine population. As per the officials the infrastructure that is available for sterilisation is at minimum capacity.

“The SMC’s lone center at Shuhama is able to carry out sterilisation of around 15 dogs per day which is negligible as compared to the population of dogs in Srinagar,” an official of SMC admitted.

Residents said that failure of SMC to take measures for controlling fast-growing population of stray dogs is taking a heavy toll on them. In absence of any regulation, children and old-aged persons are under constant threat of dog bites.

"Presence of a large number of stray dogs during evenings hampers our movement," said Shabir Ahmad, a resident of Jawahar Nagar.

"Dozens of stray dogs are present in our area. We are afraid to even venture out during evenings," said a group of residents of Babademb locality.

"Dogs chase us even during day. At least 30 to 40 dogs can be spotted in our street. We don't think authorities are serious in doing their job. The process of sterilisation is confined to papers only" said Mushtaq Ahmad, a resident of Bemina.

People of Aali Kadal, Rajouri Kadal, Safa Kadal, Bemina, Sonwar and Rambagh also complained about growing dog menace.

SMC Commissioner Athar Aamir said that the issue of dog menace will be checked soon as most of the formalities regarding setting up of new dog sterilisation centers in Srinagar have been completed.

“We have issued tender in March-April this year. However, due to COVID19 pandemic, the process got derailed,” he said while replying to a query.

“One of the sterilisation facilities is ready at Shuhama and the other three will come up at Downtown, Tengpora, and an additional center at Shuhama. We will be able to carry out 250 to 300 sterilisation surgeries as compared to around 15 right now” he added.

As per a report by the department of Community Medicines, Government Medical College (GMC) Srinagar, around 58,869 persons were bitten by the dogs in the last ten years in Kashmir.

In the last five years, 30,000 dog bite cases have been reported in Shri Maharaja Hari Singh Hospital (SMHS) alone. While topping the list in 2020 more than 2,800 cases of dog bites were reported in Srinagar only.

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