BERHAMPUR: An alarming rise in number of stray dogs has put safety of the residents of the city at risk. Stray dogs are often seen chasing pedestrians, cyclists and bikers on streets and roads both during the day and night time. On an average, 10 dog bite cases are reported at MKCG Medical College and Hospital and City Hospital everyday while around a dozen people sustain injuries by falling from cycles or bikes after being chased by the dogs.
According to the Health wing of Berhampur Municipal Corporation (BeMC), the number of stray dogs in the city might be around 22,000. Mushrooming of fast food centres has attracted more dogs into the city limits as the animals feast on the waste dumped by the eateries along the roads, sources said.
In the absence of measures to check their population, packs of dogs can be found on Government office premises, including Ganjam District Judge court, crowded market areas and even residential colonies.
As per reports, an Animal Birth Control (ABC) programme was launched in the city in 2010. However, though nearly eight years have passed, not a single dog has been sterilised by BeMC or veterinary wing under the programme.
Sources in the district administration said soon after the announcement of ABC programme, five staffers were roped in and a Jamadar of BeMC was trained in catching dogs. The corporation also purchased a dog catcher van, constructed a kennel house with 14 rooms and an operation theatre on the campus of District Veterinary Office in 2014. However, the facility remains unutilised.
Under the programme, around 100 dogs should be sterilised in a month and kept in kennel for a week before being released.Additional Health Officer of BeMC Dr E Ranjit Kumar Patra said though all the infrastructure has been put in place, non-posting of a veterinary doctor has hampered the implementation of the ABC programme. “After repeated reminders to the Chief District Veterinary Officer for deputing a doctor, I have sent a letter to the district Collector seeking his intervention in this regard,” he said.
Dr Patra admitted that complaints are pouring in from several quarters regarding traffic and sanitation hazards triggered by the rise in canine population and added that BeMC’s trained staff have been engaged to catch stray dogs. “The process was started last month and on an average, 15 dogs are being caught on a daily basis and released about 10 to 15 km away from the city,” he added.However, sources said the released dogs are returning to the city after a few days.