The Tribune – Stray dog menace
THE urgency of sterilising stray dogs with the aim of eventually making our streets free of the canine menace has been underscored for many years, even as cases of rabies and severe injuries due to dog bites and the mauling of people by ferocious hounds have been spiralling. The WHO estimates are frightening: at 18,000-20,000 a year, more than one-third of the global deaths by rabies take place in India; children under the age of 15 are the victims in 30-60 per cent of the dog-bite cases and deaths.
The Punjab and Haryana High Court pulling up the Municipal Corporation (MC) of Gurugram for its ‘abysmal failure’ to ensure that the city was rid of stray dogs is a welcome development. The HC was constrained to do so in view of the MC’s lapses and inaction despite startling statistics. Of the over 17,000 stray canines, only 60 are kept in infirmaries and dog-bite cases have been rising. Even pet dogs are a terror as many owners leave them in the open without a leash. The HC Bench had earlier banned ferocious pet dogs of 11 foreign breeds after one of them had claimed a life. This potentially dangerous state of affairs is universal. In February, it came to light that despite four to five dog-bite cases being reported daily in Panchkula, not a single stray canine had been sterilised in the previous four months. The alarming level of the menace is evident in Mohali, too, which witnessed 11,077 dog-bite cases in 2022. Yet, no sterilisation drive has taken place since September 2021. Parliament data reveals that India reported nearly 1.6 crore cases of stray dog bites between 2019 and 2022.
While stray dogs need to be neutered on a war footing, it is equally important to penalise the owners who set free their pets to poop and unleash terror wherever they go.