VELLORE: The residents of Vellore raise concerns about the increase in the number of strays as dog bite incidents become frequent across the district. According to data obtained by TNIE, the corporation has not provided Animal Birth Control (ABC) procedures for the past six months allegedly due to the absence of Animal Welfare Board (AWB)-approved agencies for birth control.
According to the 2022 stray dog census, there are 12,181 stray dogs in Vellore. While 1,200 of them underwent the ABC procedure in 2021, 1,212 dogs went through it between 2022 and March 2023. However, since April 2023, the procedure has not been done on stray dogs, leading to a significant increase in their population.
The public shared that each street has a minimum of 10 dogs and the number goes upto 40 in some locations. Most of them stay under vehicles during the day and often attack people carrying food. A ward councillor who recently got bitten by a stray dog said his street is home to at least 25 of them, including a few puppies.
An 11-year-old from Ward 24 said she was rescued from dog attacks twice within a week. She said, “I can’t go out by myself, especially after 6 p.m. A dog bit my brother recently, which increased my fear.” R Rajkumar (43) from Ward 33 said, “I take morning walks at Vasanthapuram and every day I see a group of 40 to 50 dogs, including puppies. Some of them attempt to bite or chase the commuters, including students.” He urged that measures must be taken to control the stray dog population.”
A health official said they handle upto four dog bite cases daily and a recent surge in the attacks has led to an increased supply of anti-rabies vaccine. Official sources said, 60 dog bite cases have been registered in a single Health and Wellness Centre (HWC) out of the total 10 in Vellore, in October. Out of these, 40 are new cases. When contacted, City Health Officer (in-charge) Murugan initially said 128 cases were reported in all 10 HWCs. Later, when TNIE highlighted the number of cases in a single HWC, the official revised the number to 197 but refused to share per HWC data.
The assistant commissioner of Vellore corporation said, as per the ABC Rules, 2023 by the AWB, only recognised birth control organisation can perform the procedure. However, due to the absence of approved agencies, they have been unable to process ABC for the past six months.
Oviya, an animal activist from Vellore, told TNIE, “I run an AWB-approved NGO. If the government assigns trained doctors for birth control, we can conduct ABC at our NGO. However, there is no initiative. They allow the dog population to multiply, blame the animals, and harm them. If the government takes measures from the outset, this issue can be effectively managed.”