Stray dog population out of control in city

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Srinagar—Despite the efforts of Srinagar Municipal Corporation to control the stray dog population in the city, the miseries of people faced due to these canines seem to be unending.

People believe here that street dog numbers continue to affect people in majority of the areas of Srinagar city and this will be the trend if the authorities do nothing. “The control methods used are inadequate, as trapping is rarely a method that is considered and is totally undervalued and underutilized,” said one of the city residents.

People blame the authorities for not taking appropriate steps to reduce the increasing dog population. The cases reported with Socio and Preventive Medicine Department at the SMHS Hospital, the only tertiary care hospital in the Valley, has registered hundreds of dog bite cases during the recent years.

According to official figures, approximately 70,000 dog bite cases were recorded in the Valley in the past six years.

In Srinagar alone, hundreds of people were bitten by canines. The peripheral hospitals of Directorate of Health Services Kashmir receive around 25,000 cases of dog bites every year, Sources said.

According to official data, there are about 48,000 stray dogs roaming the city streets, but unofficial estimates say the number is about 1, 00,000.

To control the canine population in the city, the Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) has taken the process of sterilization, but people said that it was a long process and there should be some short-term plan by the SMC to stop the cases of dog bites.

“Sterilization is a long time process. The government is not serious in solving this grave issue. Something needs to be done timely to check the menace,” Habib-ullah, a resident said.

Stray canines can be seen roaming on streets, chasing cars, pulling down bicycle riders and often attacking pedestrians and schoolchildren.

The situation is worse in the outskirts where the municipal corporation is not that active in checking the menace.

Srinagar Municipal commissioner Dr Shafqat Khan when contacted said that steps are being taken to control the dog menace in the city. “We have launched a major program in this regard. Growth of dogs is being checked by various scientific methods,” he said.

He however said that the reason behind the ferocity of the dogs is the high-protein food they are fed regularly because of the dietary habits of residents in city, where mutton and chicken are a staple diet. KNS

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