THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Fifteen pairs of eyes peer at you from their grossly emaciated bodies standing in pools of faecal waste and urine, breathing in the foul smell. Some huddle in corners, lying on top of each other, seeking out a space having relatively less faecal matter. Ribs of most dogs stick out prominently. Three small dogs, which look hardly six months old, also bear the misfortune. Two adjacent cages lie unused, with small heaps of poo covering the floor. A carcass of a rat lies rotting away in one of the unused cages. A rottweiler is kept in a cage in another block.
This is how the dogs caught for the Animal Birth Control and Anti Rabies (ABC-AR) programme have been kept at the Corporation’s former sterilisation facility at the Government Veterinary Hospital, Pettah. And the state of unused cages shows gross negligence in maintaining a hygienic environment. While ABC is the answer to reducing the population of dogs, torture isn’t. Dogs are caught at a time when the sterilisation programme hasn’t been undertaken at the facility for the past three months.
On enquiry, an official at the hospital informed that the dogs are being transferred to a new sterilisation facility at the Veterinary Hospital in Thiruvallam. “The dogs are being shifted to the new, permanent facility at Thiruvallam, as this structure is being pulled down. The facility at Pettah was a temporary one,” he said.
The nodal officer of the sterilisation programme, Dr P S Raju, was unavailable for comment.
Sreekumar K, chairman of the Health Standing Committee of the city Corporation which runs the hospital, said he will look into the matter. “Suitable action will be taken if the project isn’t being carried out properly,” he said.
Meanwhile, People for Animals hinted at approaching the Animal Welfare Board of India if the issue is not addressed immediately.
“Earlier, we had approached the authorities concerned after we saw that the dogs were kept in unhygienic conditions and weren’t being fed properly. That was six months ago. We will lodge a complaint with the Corporation regarding this issue. If suitable measures aren’t taken, we will approach the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI),” said Latha Indira of PFA Thiruvan anthapuram.
She further said it has been two years since the monitoring committee for the sterilisation programne convened a meeting. “Despite our requests, they aren’t convening the monitoring committee meeting which is the forum to raise such issues,” she said.