PUDUCHERRY: A sudden spike in stray dog attacks has turned into a matter of worry for the residents of Puducherry. More than 30 individuals were attacked by strays on a single day and people have called for urgent action from local authorities to address this issue.
Official reports indicate that 16 people were attacked by stray dogs in Villianur on Tuesday, 13 in Lawspet on Wednesday, three on the Pondicherry University campus on Thursday, and several individual incidents in Orleanpet, New Bus Stand, Muthialpet, and Mudalirpet.
Director of Puducherry health department Dr G Sriramulu confirms that cases of dog bites have suddenly gone up in government hospitals in the past few days. “Earlier, we have been getting one or two cases here and there, but the numbers are surging with each passing day. There have also been instances of one dog biting several people." However, he said that the hospitals have adequate stock of vaccines and medicines. "But the administration should take immediate steps to address the issue," he added.
Veterinary experts said that the plausible reasons behind the attacks include the onset of breeding season and stress faced by canines due to inclement weather conditions. The scarcity of shelter and food has led to increased aggression among strays, who roam in groups and exhibit territorial behaviour, they added.
The rise in the stray dog population is attributed to the suspension of the Animal Birth Control (ABC) programme by most local bodies due to financial constraints. Puducherry municipality has faced difficulties in executing the programme and administering rabies vaccines as the only available facility at the Old Bus Stand has been under repair for a long time.
Puducherry Municipal Commissioner S Sivakumar told TNIE, "we are planning to collaborate with Oulgaret municipality to resume the ABC programme and vaccination for dogs within a few days."
Puducherry AIADMK condemned the local administration's failure to control the menace and held them responsible for the increasing number of dogs, cattle, pigs, and other strays. AIADMK deputy secretary and former MLA Vaiyapuri Manikandan highlighted the urgent need for regulations, urging authorities to issue licences to livestock breeders and ensure regular monitoring to prevent strays from wandering through the streets, causing accidents and injuries.
Meanwhile, residents who suffered dog bites, mostly women, thronged the out-patient department of the Puducherry government hospital for anti-rabies vaccination on Wednesday.