THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The ambitious anti-rabies programme launched by Saigramam, an NGO, in 2014 had made commendable strides in making several parts of the city free from stray dog menace. Over 2,000 dogs were sterilised and given anti-rabies vaccination as part of the project.
However, citing fund shortage, government stopped salary payment seven months later.
Three months ago, Saigramam approached City Corporation seeking its support for the programme. “We were ready to continue the project in the terms and conditions in the first phase of the project. But the corporation has not responded so far,” K N Anandakumar, executive director of Saigramam said. The programme which involves sterilisation of stray dogs and leaving them in their original habitat was launched in association with the Kerala Sustainable Urban Development Project and Animal Husbandry Department.
Animal Husbandry Department associated with the project by supplying medicine while the KSUDP met the salary expenses of doctors.
Meanwhile, following a request from the Attingal Municipality, Saigramam started the project there. “Over 600 strays have been sterilised so far. Our aim is to sterilise all strays, vaccinate both domestic and strays and to declare the municipality rabies-free on August 15,” Anandakumar said.
“Attingal municipal chairman M Pradeep is showing keen interest to make the programme a success. All the councillors too offer good support to the programme,” he added.
Pilot phase of the programme in Thiruvananthapuram city was at the Medical College ward where all stray dogs were sterilised and domestic canines were given anti-rabies vaccination. The programme came to a halt when 90 percent of works were complete in 27 wards, including Vattiyoorkavu, Nettayam, PTP Nagar, Thampanoor, Karamana and Poojappura.
“To sterilise and vaccinate 2,000 dogs in seven months was quite a challenging task. Unfortunately, the government withdrew from the programme while works were nearing completion,” Anandakumar said. Saigramam conducted the operations adhering to the standards. Strays were caught by expert dog catchers and were subjected to sterilisiation and anti-rabies vaccination. The animals were left after keeping them under observation for three days.
The Trust had also conducted a study to find the effectiveness of its programme at these wards. For this number of rabies vaccinations administered at the Government Medical College Hospital and the General hospital were taken.
The study found a 50 percent drop in the total number of vaccinations administered at these hospitals in three months after the project was stopped.