Wednesday 24 April 2013

Counting the canines

Well, well, well. What has India come to. In the next few months officials of  a prominent State will be saddled with the onerous responsibility of  counting the genital organs of sterilised canines.
Though this strange may not entirely be in the line of duty, the officials will have no go but to start counting once payments for sterilization of dogs starts.
This bizarre count will soon take place in Haryana, one of the many states of India. Counting is important because payment will depend on the number of dogs   sterilised and the best and one hundred percent accurate manner of countings is by physical checking.
Thus the payment will depend on the number of sterilization of cannines undertaken and mere filing up of forms or reeling of numbers would not do. This strange move by Haryana is part of a comprehensive scheme to control the population of stray dogs in the state and also ensure accountability by a society which will be exclusively in charge of  the sterlisation programme.
Under the scheme, a Society for Stray Canine Birth Control will soon be set up. Officials of the society will include government functionaries and representatives of animal welfare organisations,   animal health officials and others. They will set up inspection teams that will verify and count genital organs of the sterilised dogs.
The responsibility of sterlising the dogs has been handed over to the State's Department of Animal Husbandary. Once the canines are sterlised, the genital organs will be preserved in formalin solution for the society's inspection team to physically count and verify.
The municipalities will be asked to release money based on the number of genital organs counted. No payments will be made till then.
The society in each civic area will be headed by commissioners of municipal corporations, deputy commissioners and sub-divisional officers. They will be supported by representatives from the public health department, the animal welfare department, veterinarians, the district Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCAs) and other officials.
This scheme was approved by Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda recently after he and his Cabinet colleagues were inundated with increasing complaints of stray dogs creating menace in the state and attacking humans.
The Haryana Government has asked municipalities to set up dog catching teams and if this is not feasible, engage private contractors to catch stray dogs and sterilise them.
The municipalities, in turn, will arrange dog vans with ramps for the capture and  transportation of stray dogs, along with two trained dog catchers. On its part, the animal husbandry department will set up dog sterilisation centres, which will include minor operation theatres (OT) and post-operative recovery rooms for the canines.
Once the dogs are sterilised and immunized against rabies, they  will be kept in kennels for post-operative care, feeding and management till they are fit for release.
Now the question is whether Karnataka too will follow the Haryana model. There have been increasing stray dog attacks in Bangalore and it remains to be seen whether the civic body in Bangalore will go in for such checks to make sure that NGOs which sterlise cannines do their job satisfactorily.
There have been cases filed in the High court of Karnataka seeking judicial sanction to eliminate stray dogs. The High Court has been told of the increasing stray dog menace in Bangalore and the failure of the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) in taking remedial measures.
A few years ago, the Karnataka Lokayuktha had ordered elimination of stray dogs and this had also been challenged in the High Court by animal rights organisations.  
Meanwhile, the BBMP has shifted the blame on NGOs saying that they are no longer in the field of sterlisation of dogs and if anyone has to be blamed it is the NGOs. The  BBMP says it got 69,149 stray dogs vaccinated or sterilised in 2010-11, while 93,447 dogs were sterilised in 2011-12.

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