Canine trouble in J&K capital

Municipal authorities express helplessness in tackling the stray dog menace.

Srinagar: The large number of stray dogs in the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir has led to a sharp increase in canine attacks even as municipal authorities expressed helplessness in tackling the menace.

According to doctors at SMHS hospital, over 50 cases of dog bites were reported from around Kashmir Valley on Monday with more than half of these incidents taking place within the city.

However, Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC), which announced a dog sterilisation drive last year, seems to be helpless in dealing with the situation that has left the residents of the city in terror. "What do you think I can do," Commissioner SMC GN Qasba said when asked about the growing number of daily attacks on Srinagar residents by stray dogs.

The doctor in-charge of treating the dog-bite cases said there is a "daily increase" in the number of such cases. "Some two years ago the number would be around 200 cases per month, now it is even more than 500 dog bite cases per month that we treat," the doctor said.

The SMC commissioner, however, said the Kashmir`s dog menace is being given an "unnecessary hype". He said the SMC is working on a sterilisation programme which will begin from May.

"We have sent nine veterinarians on a radical training programme to Jaipur where they will gain expertise in sterilising the dogs. The programme will be implemented from May and we expect to sterilise over 50 dogs per day," Qasba said.

He said the emphasis will be on sterilising female dogs. The commissioner said that apart from the sterilisation programme, the corporation is also working on improving sanitation and regular sweeping drives are organised.

"This will lead to the shortage of food for dogs and their population from residential areas will decrease," he said.

When asked if it can be a reason for the rise in dog attacks on humans, Qasba said, "I don’t know.
You can talk to an expert about this issue," he said.

An official of the SMC who spoke on condition of anonymity said the plan to sterilise the dogs will be a "big failure".
"How can they sterilise one lakh dogs? This method is not going to help. The only option to save the humans in the city is to kill the dogs," the official said.
The dog population in Srinagar city is estimated to be around 1.20 lakh, the official said.


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