Ground report : Has dog sterilization programme stalled in Kompally?

Usually, the municipality enters into a contract with an NGO to carry out the Animal Birth Control Anti Rabies (ABCAR) vaccination programme.

By Nimisha S Pradeep  Published on  17 March 2022 6:24 AM GMT
Ground report : Has dog sterilization programme stalled in Kompally?

Hyderabad: G Karthik Varma, 8, can't get over the dread of March 1. A resident of the NCL colony, Kompally, he and his sister were mauled by three to four stray dogs on that day.

Since then, both have been taking rabies injections. "My sister and I had gone to the nearby temple to play. After some time, three or four dogs came and bit us. Luckily, some of the people saw and rescued us. They took us to the hospital and we took nine injections on that day," recalls Karthik, who stays at NCL colony, Kompally, still unable to shirk off his fear.

Karthik's mother Souchanya says after the dog bite incident, the children are scared to even step out of the apartment gate. "Earlier, when they went out to play, we had to go searching for them, but now they are playing inside only and are not stepping out," she says.

In another incident, 57-year-old Neeraja had gone for a visit to the temple on February 28, when a pack of 10-12 dogs attacked her. "I used to go to the temple every day two or three times, but nowadays I am going only once in a week and that too when a lot of people are around," says Neeraja.

Shailaja, the NCL colony President has also been attacked by a pack of 12-15 dogs when she was en route to her friend's house. "I wasn't afraid of dogs. I didn't panic seeing them. But one of the dogs came near me. I tried to shoo it away. But then a pack of 12-15 dogs pounced on me. Since then, I am afraid of dogs," says Shailaja. After that incident, I now take a longer route to the market.

Like humans, dogs also need more food and water. Some of the experts in this field say that it is when they don't get food and water, they become aggressive and attack people.

Who is carrying out the sterilization programme in KMC

Usually, the municipality enters into a contract with an NGO to carry out the Animal Birth Control Anti Rabies (ABCAR) vaccination programme. Shailaja, the NCL colony President says that ultimately it is the responsibility of the municipality to ensure that all the dogs are sterilized in an area. Shailaja who is also a lawyer says that there are a lot of internal problems, fund issues between the municipality and NGO, but ultimately we are suffering, "it's about our lives."

As per information, NGO NS Ahluwalia entered into contact with the Kompally Municipal Council (KMC) in September 2020 for a period of one year to carry out the sterilization and vaccination (ABCAR) programme but it was stopped midway in May 2021 due to the lack of funds. One of the government-certified educators in the field says, "It's not correct to stop the ABC AR programme in between. The programme should be carried out simultaneously in the neighboring wards also, to avoid the entry of other dogs into this area."

Also, if the sterilization is midway, the dogs will multiply drastically and after a point, it will be hard to manage, says vet experts.

However, Raseel Ahluwali, President of NGO `NS Ahluwalia' rules out the lack of fund availability from the municipality. He says there was only a slight delay from KMC. However, the programme was halted for a brief time because the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) released new guidelines. As per the new guidelines of AWBI, a registered NGO cannot do the ABCAR programme but it has to get special permission exclusively for ABC AR to be eligible to carry out the programme. However, this guideline first came in 2017 and then later was reissued in February 2021.

Raseel says that the NGO is in the process of applying presently. At the same time, he also tells that whenever there was an emergency, the NGO voluntarily rushed to the spot, caught dogs, and helped the residents reduce the menace.

The residents of the area allege that the municipality isn't doing enough to tackle this issue. The Commissioner of KMC however wished not to talk on the issue. Additional Engineer of KMC who takes care of the sterilization programme said that NGO NS Ahluwalia is running the programme currently and the bills are being released based on the organ count- that is the number of female and male dogs sterilized. But he refused to share a copy of the contract signed with the NGO. He also said that the Blue Cross is not carrying out any related operations.

However, Kumari from Blue Cross said that the organization is in association with the KMC for the last 6 months and that they are planning to formally begin the ABC AR programme from April 2022.

What the residents can do

Dog lovers in the area feel that the residents can set up small, feeding bowls in front of their homes and provide food and water to the dogs to make them less aggressive during the hot summers. They also are of the opinion that the municipality is not doing enough but they say at least the residents can try this and solve the issue to some extent.

The certified educator says that besides sterilization and vaccination, there should be awareness programmes conducted to make people understand how to behave with aggressive dogs. Also, the monitoring board committee which consists of representatives of the local administration, NGO, and residents should meet from time to time to discuss the concerns of all stakeholders.

"I am not against dogs. But what I suggest is relocate the aggressive ones and sterilize them," says Shailaja.

After the children's protest march in Kompally on 6 March urging KTR to do something, the Blue Cross came on 12 March, Saturday, and gave AR vaccination to some of the dogs. But the residents of the colony demand a permanent solution to the problem.

The entire issue has also slightly affected the social lives of the residents as there is a rift now between the residents and the dog lovers in the area. Some of the dog lovers are forced to stop feeding the dogs.

NewsMeter is following up on the story. It will be updated once we get more details.

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