HYDERABAD: People residing in and commuting through the Secunderabad Cantonment area have become vulnerable to dog bites thanks to the indifference of the Secunderabad Cantonment Board (SCB) to the stray dog menace.
There is literally no proper system in place for protecting residents from stray dogs in the Cantonment limits. Worse, anti-rabies vaccines are not available at the six health centres in the area to treat victims in case of dog bites. All victims of dog bites in the area are rushed to Fever Hospital at far-off Nallakunta or the Institute of Preventive Medicine (IPM) at Narayanaguda.
“There are no hospitals which will take dog bite victims in Cantonment limits. Dog-bite victims are, therefore, taken to far-off hospitals whether it be day or night. While those who can afford go to private clinics, the poor go all the way to Fever Hospital or IPM in case of emergency,” said A.Raju, a resident of Bapuji Nagar in Bowenpally.Dog-bite victims also have to make their own arrangements and there is no helpline or emergency squad to deal with stray dogs in the SCB-administered areas. Though stray dogs attacked a boy, a student of Class III, here on Friday, no official from SCB cared to visit, Raju said.
The SCB has just one vehicle and three employees dedicated to control the stray dog menace, which appears insufficient when compared to the large area falling in SCB limits.
Though there is team to deal with stray dogs, complaints pour in from colonies and slums alike about lack of proper steps to control the stray dog menace. In addition to lack of a proper system to monitor dog bites, there is no clarity on the number of falling prey to stray dogs.
“Many a time, we complain about stray dogs but we do no know when the dog-catching team will turn up. With no proper protective measures in place, not just local people but also passers-by dread to walk on the roads at night,” complained Shanta Bai, an elderly woman from Kasturba Housing Society Colony, Bowenpally.While complaints about stray dogs are a regular feature, SCB authorities cite financial constraints as reason for their inability to tackle the problem effectively.
“We do not have adequate staff needed for the job. Due to financial constraints we have outsourced the job of sterilising dogs. SCB dispensaries are always short-staffed. But SCB’s super specialty hospital is coming up at Bollarum in October and we will take steps to make dog bite vaccines available there,” said S.Keshava Reddy, vice-president of SCB.