THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: If the Thiruvananthapuram Corporation has its way, all qualified veterinary doctors - including private vets - will be allowed to sterilise stray dogs. The beleaguered Corporation is hoping to get the State Government issue an order in this regard as other options have failed to contain the stray dog menace. At present, there are only two government veterinarians on the job, which is abysmally insufficient to handle the sheer number of dogs being brought in to the pound at Pettah as part of the Animal Birth Control (ABC) project. According to Corporation officials, trapping the dogs is not the problem, but sterilising them is.
‘’You can control the menace effectively only if you succeed in sterilising 25,000 dogs during a six-month to one-year period. Catching the dogs is not the issue now. We have only two government vets for the sterilisation programme now,’’ Corporation health officer Dr D Sreekumar said.
The proposal to empower all qualified vets to sterilise stray dogs, in fact, was included in the Corporation’s health plan. At the time, however, the Animal Husbandry Department had voiced certain reservations.
But since the law does not allow the animals to be culled, and sterilisation being the only legal solution, the Corporation is trying to rope in as many vets as possible. Despite promises by the Corporation, the fact is, marauding packs of stray dogs continue to rule city streets, especially after dark.
There are scant statistics on the stray dog population in the city, but there surely is about the number of new patients calling at the Anti-Rabies Clinic at the General Hospital, Pettah.
Says Dr Sreekumar, who heads the clinic; ‘’Between 50 and 60 new patients visit the clinic each day.’’ This number alone is sufficient to underscore the gravity of the stray dog menace.
There are more statistics. The dog pound at Pettah has over 40 animals at present, but only five have been sterilised under the ABC project in January due to lack of vets. Meanwhile, the garbage crisis in the city also is contributing to the stray dog problem with trash dumps a big attraction for the hungry canines. Residents’ associations in the city have for long been demanding that the animals be culled, but the Corporation has its hands tied in the matter as the law prevents it from acting.