CHENNAI: Nearly 3,000 stray dogs on an average are caught by the Chennai Corporation’s dog catchers on a monthly basis, which indicates that the numbers have nearly doubled than in the previous years.
As per civic body statistics, 19,296 stray dogs were caught in the year 2012-13, while the figure was 16,167 for 2011-12. For the year 2013-14, this figure rose to a little over 25,000, said officials. However, City Express found out that the figures had risen considerably more for the current year. For the months August through to November, the civic body had caught 2,828, 2,852, 2,704 and 3,284 stray dogs respectively.
Over the course of 12 months, the pattern suggests that the civic body will catch nearly 36,000 dogs. But, the Chennai Corporation is woefully understaffed to effectively execute the task with its 43 dog catchers and 15 dog vans.
Official sources told City Express that the Corporation is set to procure 10 more dog vans in the coming month but failed to add if there will be a recruitment drive to increase the number of dog catchers.
“In this year alone, we have attended to nearly 8,608 stray dog complaints from residents,” said an official, without revealing the pending complaints’ figure. With stray dog numbers rising, the Corporation has set in motion its massive Anti Rabies Vaccination (ARV) drive that will, in two phases inject ARV into 85,000 dogs in the city.
“We have completed the ARV campaign in Ambattur (Zone 7). We will begin with Zone 10 on Wednesday. The first phase will cover 40,000 dogs and the second phase will cover the rest,” said an official. The Corporation is also administering an Animal Birth Control procedure on stray dogs, working in conjunction with the Blue Cross of India (BCI), People for Animals and the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
The numbers of stray cattle impounded has also gone up. The civic body has impounded for the months September through to November 2014 - 186, 105 and 222 cattle.
Comparatively, Corporation statistics suggest that only 611 and 680 cattle were impounded during the whole of 2011-12 and 2012-13.
Officials told CE that the owners of the cattle impounded are fined `1,500 and made to give a written declaration that the Corporation is free to confiscate and hand over the animal to the Blue Cross of India the next time it is impounded. But, the loophole is that the written statement only applies to that particular animal, which the authorities may not be able to identify the next time it is caught. Effectively, if a person owns 10 cows, then he can give up to 10 declarations for each animal before the issue of confiscation crops up.
Meanwhile, Corporation officials also said that they will be procuring seven cattle impound vehicles, to add to the present lot of eight, in light of the rising number of cattle impounds.