TODAY’S PAPER » NATIONAL » KERALA
KOCHI, August 1, 2012
Who let the dogs out?
The city is pinning its hope on the general body meeting of the Society for Prevention of Cruelty against Animals (SPCA) to find an end to the stray dog menace.
A general body meeting of the organisation will be held on August 4 to revamp and reactivate the organisation. The Ernakulam SPCA, which had been defunct for nearly one-and-a-half years, was earlier instrumental in implementing Animal Birth Control (ABC) programme for sterilising stray dogs.
During its active days, the organisation had carried out sterilisation surgeries for around 1,000 street dogs. The lack of space for sheltering the animals was the major hurdle faced by the organisation, said M.R. Sethumadhavan, secretary of the organisation. The Kochi Corporation too had associated with the agency for the programme, he said.
With no initiatives from any agency to curb the canine population, the Kochi Corporation is finding it difficult to deal with the situation as the killing of street dogs has been banned in the State. Moreover, the civic body doesn’t have facilities for carrying out the sterilisation surgeries for dogs. Complaints regarding stray dog menace are regularly reaching the civic authorities in large numbers, said Dr. C. Santha, the Health Officer of the Kochi Corporation.
At the same time, some civic officials admitted that they had to resort to elimination of stray dogs by unofficially engaging a dog catcher. Earlier, the Corporation could officially do the job by engaging a dog catcher. With the court order banning the killing in force and complaints of stray dog attacks galore, the civic representatives are left with few choices, they said.
Lack of boarding facilities too is dogging the District Veterinary Office, the agency which can implement the ABC. The office doesn’t have enough facilities for housing the animals for pre and operative care, said K.J. Mariyamma, Chief Veterinary Officer, Ernakulam. The facilities that are available at the office near Durbar Hall ground are insufficient for such programmes.There is also the shortage of trained personnel for the job, said Dr. Mariyamma. However, Mr. Sethunath says that the gone are the days when dogs had to be lodged for a week as part of the post operative care. These days, the veterinarians use absorbable suture and the animals can be released after a day in captivity, he said.
Killing of dogs is not the answer for controlling the dog population and such measures amount to cruelty to animals.Licensing system should be introduced for dogs. Facilities for sterilising dogs should be introduced in all civic bodies for controlling the canine population, he suggested.