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Growth of street dog population poses an urban management challenge

Growth of street dog population poses an urban management challenge

Gandhinagar, March 5 (SocialNews.XYZ) On February 28, 5-year-old Khushi died of suspected rabies in Surat. Her family members claimed that a few months ago, a street dog had licked an injury she had sustained and she might have developed rabies symptoms on February 25. She was hospitalized for three days, and breathed her last on Tuesday.

This was the second time in eight days that a child became the victim of a street dog in Surat. On February 23, a two-year-old succumbed to bite injuries from dogs.


These examples are just the tip of the iceberg of the street dog menace. In Surat alone, in January and February, five incidents of dog attacks or biting children were reported.

The issue is not limited to Surat or the seven other megacities of Gujarat; even in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities, dog attacks are increasing. According to the Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, from January 1 to November 30, 2022, 1,44,855 cases of dog bites were reported in Gujarat. The information was shared in the Lok Sabha in December 2022.

If this figure is compared with the previous years, there is a declining trend, but even after introducing the dog sterilization program in the eight municipal corporation areas of Surat, there has been no drastic drop in the dog population. In 2019, 4,804,244; in 2020, 4,31,425; and in 2021, 1,92,364 dog bite cases were reported in Gujarat.

Commenting on the street dog menace, Surat Municipal Commissioner Shalini Agarwal told the media that an agency has been hired that sterilizes dogs; the corporation does not have huge shelter homes where it can keep dogs in large numbers but the corporation is now planning to double its capacity.

She stated that based on people's feedback and complaints about dog attacks, the corporation is identifying areas with the highest number of complaints. The corporation's team will focus on these areas to catch and sterilize dogs.

Vadodara Municipal Corporation's Leader of the Opposition, Ami Rawat, said on an average 400 dog bite cases are reported daily, and the numbers are on the rise because the sterilization program is more on paper than on the ground. As the corporation claims, if those many dogs were sterilized daily, Vadodara's streets would be dog-free by now.

The increase in dog bite cases exposes the urban health facilities. No officer, be it in Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Surat, Rajkot, or other municipal corporations, is ready to speak or comment on the rabies vaccine shortage. There is a constant complaint from citizens that if a victim approaches a hospital for dog bite treatment, the hospital authorities raise their hands, claiming they are short of rabies vaccines.

There were issues of vaccine shortage, but in the last few months, at least in Vadodara, there have been no complaints of a vaccine shortage.

Source: IANS

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Growth of street dog population poses an urban management challenge

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