KOCHI: Taking note of the increasing stray dog menace, the Kochi corporation is taking steps to strengthen the Animal Birth Control (ABC) programmes.Launched about eight years ago in the city, the programme has sterilised only about 7,000 stray dogs so far.
”Though the activities were stalled for some months due to the pandemic, it is back on track and we have taken steps to add more facilities to the veterinary hospital and at Brahmapuram,” says Ashraf T K, chairman of the corporation’s health standing committee. Community dog population has increased ever since the lockdown, notes an official. “The reason for this might have been the availability of food in the city areas. It has resulted in exponential growth of the canine population,” he adds.
Currently, the civic body has engaged two veterinarians and three dog catchers for the programme. “On a daily average, about eight dogs are caught and taken to the ABC facility for sterilisation and vaccination,” the official says.
Ernakulam district animal husbandry officer Dr Usha Rani says services of Kudumbashree members have been discontinued, as the women’s collective does not have the Animal Welfare Board of India’s approval . “Kudumbashree has submitted a request to the board. Central officers conducted a field inspection, but are yet to approve,” she adds.
On the rabies threat, Usha says vaccinations for stray dogs are “not being done regularly”. She also stresses that booster vaccination drives should be carried out every year. “Proper implementation of sterilisation, vaccination and microchipping of stray dogs would help curb the menace,” she notes.
As part of strengthening the ABC programmes in the city, the corporation is planning to implement tagging for stray dogs. “After the dogs are sterilised and vaccinated, they will be released to the location from where they were caught. However, before releasing the dogs, colour-coded tags will be clipped to their ears,” says a corporation official. “A plan is also being made to implant microchips in pets, too. This will be done in consultation with the health officials and veterinary doctors associated with the corporation.”
- A fatal disease caused by lyssavirus, which is transmitted to humans mainly from animal bites, through the saliva of infected animals.
- Symptoms include that of flu such as fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, anxiety, excessive salivation, hallucination, and insomnia.
- The animals most likely to spread this disease are cats, cows, dogs, goats, horses, monkeys, bats, and other mammals that breastfeed their baby.
- It spreads through the nerve cells to the brain which causes severe inflammation of the brain and spinal cord.
- It takes two to eight weeks for symptoms to manifest