VISAKHAPATNAM: Though the dog menace has become a serious threat to denizens, Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC) is unable to control dog population. The GVMC every year claims that it sterilises thousands of dogs but the facts belie its claims. Assessing the available data with the GVMC, the officials say that the stray dog population is about two lakh.
The death of the two-year-old boy by dogs Friday revealed the persisting stray dog menace in the city. Everyday during the night, several bikers meet with accidents and sustain severe injuries in stray dog attacks. Since 2000, the GVMC has been trying to control the stray dog population.
Responding to the Friday incident, the GVMC claimed that 70,000 dogs had been sterilised and 30,000 more were left to be done in the city.
“If the GVMC claim is correct, the stray dog population should have come down. But the facts are different. A healthy dog would give birth to 10 puppies in a year and the survival rate is 60 per cent. If the sex ratio is 50:50, 15,000 dogs will be female and there will be 90,000 puppies born in a year and again consider 45,000 puppies are female and a dog reaches breeding stage after six months. One can easily calculate how the stray dog population increases. The success rate of the sterilisation should also be reviewed, a senior veterinary professor said.
“Yes, there is no data available with us. In fact, after merger of the Anakapalle and Bheemili municipalities into the GVMC, there are over two lakh stray dogs roaming in the streets of Greater Visakhapatnam. According to the High Court orders, we can not kill the dogs. Even to kill a dog, a three-member committee should certify that the dog is mad. But the GVMC said that nobody files a PIL in the court.
“Earlier, some animal welfare organisations filed petitions against municipal officials and notices were also issued,” a senior GVMC official lamented. He suggested that the NGOs and individuals should file a petition in the court against the dog menace.
“The present practice of dog catching is worn out and cruel. The stray dogs are very clever and they can smell even the van from a distance and run away. We can catch a group of dogs by offering sedative food. After sterilisation every dog should be marked and also should be maintained at least for three days,” a senior veterinarian L Pradyumna opined.
After the deplorable incident near Siripuram junction Friday, GVMC commissioner Praveen Kumar visited the boy’s bereaved family and commiserated with the parents. The commissioner presented Rs 50,000 to the family from the Apadbandhu scheme. The dog squads were deputed in and around Siripuram to catch the dogs.
“An action plan is being prepared to control breeding of the dogs. The GVMC estimates one lakh dogs in the city and of them 70,000 had been sterilised and five dog squads were deployed and several dog shelters provided. The GVMC and VSPCA, an NGO, will sterilise 10,000 dogs this year. A kennel will also be set up to guard the dogs for three days after sterilisation,” Praveen Kumar said.