Canine Terror Hits City

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SRINAGAR — The stray dog menace has hit the city as a large number of dog bite cases have been reported from different areas here. The SMC au­thorities have failed to deal with the problem as garbage dumps attract the dogs and a pack of strays are a common scene in the areas of Jawa­har Nagar, Rajbagh, Bemina, Sanat Nagar as well as in Lal Chowk.

The presence of large number of stray dogs at Regal Chowk has left the shopkeepers and pedestrians hassled. “During evening hours, stray dogs chase vehicles and pedes­trians. The presence of dogs poses risk of accidents and injuries. The Srinagar Municipal Corporation has failed to check growing population of stray dogs,” said a commuter. He said that the SMC Commissioner should “look into the matter and di­rect the concerned officials to shift the stray dogs to its sterilization cen­tre.” Though the Srinagar Municipal Cooperation (SMC) has said that they have taken steps to reduce the dog population, the stray dogs continue to pose a serious threat to the resi­dents here. Official statistics reveals that stray dog bite cases over the years have rapidly increased. Despite making tall claims, authorities have failed to put a check on the growing population of stray dogs “which has made it difficult for people to ven­ture out of their houses.”

An official however pinned the blame on people saying heaps of garbage as well as food packets are thrown on the roads that attracts the canines. “Dogs are mostly seen at those places. It is an open invitation for dogs to gather there. Sometimes they attack the persons who pass through the area,” he said.

People however blamed 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, main tertiary care hospital in the Valley, is receiving hundreds of dog bite cases in last few years.

According to official data, there are about 48,000 dogs in the city, but unofficial estimates put the number at over 1, 00,000. To control the ca­nine population in the city, the Sri­nagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) has taken up 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,” said a resident Mushtaq Ahmad.

The local people have stressed on the need for collection of “ garbage” through door-to-door collections.

A senior doctor at the SMHS hos­pital said, “We receive 15-20 fresh cases of stray dog bites per day. At the first instance we quickly provide anti-rabies vaccine to such patients. The number of stray dog bites is in­creasing and there is need to check the growing population of stray dogs in the city.”

Haseena Akhtar, a resident said, that recently she was attacked by a stray dog. “Children and elderly per­sons are always at the risk of attacks by stray dogs. The number of stray dogs is increasing here but unfor­tunately, no action is taken to check stray dogs.”

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