Chennai Corporation on toes after three more dog bites reported

Dog census to be held in all 200 wards, NGOs invited to participate
A dog survey will be conducted for 10 days with the help of volunteers
A dog survey will be conducted for 10 days with the help of volunteers File photo

CHENNAI: With an increase in reports of human-animal conflicts in the city, especially stray cattle attacks and dog bites, the city corporation has found itself being unable to navigate through legal hurdles and take action. Meanwhile, the corporation is being pulled up for inaction by the general public as three dog-bite cases have been reported in the city last week.

The Tamil Nadu Animals and Birds in Urban Areas (Control and Regulation) Act, 1997 banned the owning of notified animals such as cattle, buffaloes and pigs in 144 of the total 155 wards of Chennai in 2000. However, as per corporation officials, the notification ran into legal hurdles and was stayed. The corporation is now discussing the legal aspects of implementing the same with its counsel.

As per commissioner J Radhakrishnan, in the case of stray dogs, the corporation has been tasked with limiting its activities to those specified under the Animal Birth Control (ABC) Rules, 2023. This is being done even as specific guidelines and standard operating procedures prescribed for dealing with complaints of ferocious/aggressive dog bite cases do not permit the local bodies to relocate the animals, let alone consider eliminating them as demanded by a section of victims. Regulations do not permit such approaches and legally the ABC Rules, 2023 is the cornerstone for reducing the stray dog numbers, he added.

“Having said that, we feel animal lovers, activists, dog-bite victims, stray dog feeders, NGOs, and urban local bodies need to discuss the aspect with an open mind and come down from reiterating our stated legal positions and understand each others’ perspective, especially those affected,” Radhakrishnan said.

The city corporation has roped in Worldwide Veterinary Service (WVS) to carry out the dog census in all 200 wards that was initially held in Royapuram. According to the WVS proposal, wards will be divided into clusters of two to three and with the help of volunteers, survey the dogs from 6.30am to 8.30pm. The survey will be done in 10 days and the data will be analysed within the next 20 days.

The surveys are to be conducted through repeated dog sightings on selected transect routes within each ward. Three replicates of the survey data per route will be generated to obtain an average value. This is to be carried out at a cost of around Rs 6 lakh. The civic body has also welcomed other NGOs to participate in the initiative.

In the meantime, the commissioner has appealed pet owners to leash their dogs in public despite their perceived temperament and suggested the formation of an independent committee that can discuss and decide on how to handle aggressive dogs.

The civic body has also planned to hold a stakeholders consultation meeting this month that includes residents, those affected by dogs, stray dog feeders, activists, and others to discuss on the issue of strays and pets turning ferocious.

Neighbour’s pet dog bites teenager in KK Nagar

Chennai: In yet another case of dog bite, a 16-year-old boy was attacked by a pet dog at KK Nagar on Saturday night. The victim was identified as D Anbarasu who just completed his class 12. While walking along the street with a friend, the pet dog of his next-door neighbour chased and bit Anbarasu. He sustained injuries on his leg and was taken to a nearby hospital. As no complaint was registered, the police did not file a case.

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