A senior GVMC official says: “There is little we can do. The NGOs will take us to task if we catch dogs. No official is ready to land in trouble. In fact, we have powers to euthanise a dog which poses a danger to the public. But the dog should be euthanised in front of a vet and a member of an NGO. But it’s the NGOs that foist cases against officials. We admit that the situation is grave and some of the dogs may be rabid. But our hands are tied. The people should approach the court. If the court gives the nod we will be able to contain the menace within days.”
A dog catcher employed by GVMC said that the stray dog population in the city will be around three lakh. However, all stray dogs do not attack people. The dogs attack only if they are provoked or if they are rabid. Packs of dogs can be dangerous as they will attack lone pedestrians and chase motorists.
“There are some people who threaten us in the name of NGOs. Recently, when we were trying to bury the carcass of some dead animals, some people questioned us and filed cases against us. However, later they withdrew the case,” the worker said.
Though the GVMC has two sterilisation shelters, both were damaged by cyclone Hudhud. The civic body has employed 10 persons to catch dogs and control the menace in all 72 divisions in the city. Also, they have only five vehicles. Out of them, three have been given to an NGO and two are being operated by GVMC.
Recently, a municipal commissioner in the state landed in soup after locals killed dogs that attacked infants. Animal rights activists registered a case against the commissioner, who was served a charge memo. Due to fear of the wrath of court, officials are reluctant to act on complaints regarding dog menace. For some real action, the people should start an agitation, a senior GVMC official said.