Dogged by strays, Kerala plans tie-up with NGO that turned Goa rabies free

In a fix following the rise in stray dog bite cases and rabies deaths, even among the vaccinated, the Kerala government has turned its gaze to Goa for answer.

Published: 07th September 2022 06:11 AM  |   Last Updated: 07th September 2022 06:11 AM   |  A+A-

State government hasn’t taken any effective step to eliminate rabies | B P Deepu

Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In a fix following the rise in stray dog bite cases and rabies deaths, even among the vaccinated, the Kerala government has turned its gaze to Goa for answer. The Kerala chapter of Indian Veterinary Association (IVA) has initiated tie-up talks with Mission Rabies, an international animal welfare organisation that helped Goa become the first rabies-free state in the country, to eradicate rabies and curb unregulated breeding of stray canines back home.

“IVA is in talks with Mission Rabies and the proposal for the tie-up is under the state government’s consideration,” vice-president of the association Dr S Nandakumar told TNIE. Kerala reported nearly 95,000 stray dog bite cases until July this year and 20 rabies deaths till Monday.

A survey by the animal husbandry department said the state has around 2.8 lakh stray dogs. It blamed ineffective implementation of the Animal Birth Control (ABC) programme for the exponential rise in canine population in the past three to four years. 

Nandakumar said Mission Rabies will come to Kerala and help with ABC and vaccination of stray dogs. “Goa was declared rabies-free in 2021 after seven years of relentless efforts by the NGO,” he said. 
Nandakumar said the strategy is to rope in community feeders to help handle stray dogs. “Mass vaccination was one of the strategies adopted by the NGO in Goa along with ABC. Kerala needs to adopt the same immediately.” 

Vet assn: No dearth of surgeons, just require infra to implement ABC

Nandakumar said IVA has urged the local self-government department to select a couple of districts to implement the strategies. Lack of infrastructure to implement the ABC programme is one of the major hurdles in tackling the stray dog crisis in the state. A majority of local bodies lack facilities suitable for implementing the programme.

An official of the animal husbandry department said around 30 ABC centres were ready to be set up across the state. “The local bodies concerned have been asked to set up the facilities on a war footing,” said the official. Nandakumar said there was no dearth of veterinary surgeons in the state.

“If the government provides the infrastructure, there are hundreds of junior surgeons ready to implement the ABC programme,” he said. Animal rights organisations have also come forward to help the state vaccinate and sterilise strays.

“Media should stop the hate campaign against stray dogs. People are turning more hostile towards stray dogs due to the unfair coverage and are resorting to illegal practices like poisoning to kill stray dogs. Culling the canines is not a healthy solution. We are in talks with other NGO s in the state to form a collective and place a proposal before the government to help vaccinate stray dogs,” said Sreedevi S Kartha, a member of People for Animals.

Street dog bites three boys at Varode
Palakkad: A street dog attacked a student who was going to a madrassa in Ottappalam on Wednesday. Mehtab, 12, of Athani in Varode and two other boys, Hussein and Vijayan, were bitten by the dog. The news of the incident was circulated widely on social media. Mehtab fell on the road as he was bitten on the leg and he was seen being assisted by local residents while the dog managed to run away. He was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.

‘Re-examine vax quality’
Health Minister Veena George has written to Union Minister Mansukh Mandaviya seeking his intervention to re-examine the quality of anti-rabies vaccine supplied in Kerala 

India Matters


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