The stray dog problem in Pune and solutions for it:
Though there has been no formal census on stray dogs in Pune, as per the PMC’s estimation, there are around 50,000 dogs on the streets of Pune. Due to this large number, incidents of dog-human conflicts are increasing in societies, slums and even in up market neighborhoods of Pune. Every few months we read reports of human deaths due to Rabies. When Rabies has been eradicated in most of the developed world, it is shameful that India is still endemic to Rabies.
Scientific studies conducted by W.H.O. and the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) show that a well implemented ABC program is the ONLY effective way to reduce the stray dog population. This, combined with an Anti-Rabies Vaccination program will not only decrease the so called stray dog menace but will eradicate Rabies from Pune.
Problems with the PMC’s Animal Birth Control Program
The Animal Birth Control program can be effective ONLY if more than 70% of dogs in the city are sterilised over a short period of time. The number of dogs sterilized by the PMC is only 8000 to 10,000 per year. This is a woefully inadequate number. Sterilising less than 25% of estimated dog population leaves the other 75% free to breed. It is no wonder that the stray dog population is growing and the incidence of Rabies is rising in Pune.
In an attempt to reduce the stray dog population and keep the city Rabies free, Mrs. Dhanashree Bhisey along with Mrs. Deepa Bajaj have started an NGO – Canine Control and Care (CCC) – which conducts free sterilisation surgeries on stray dogs/cats and gives them free anti Rabies vaccinations. They have a website caninecontrolandcare.org too. In one year, more than 700 stray dogs and cats have been sterilised and vaccinated. The surgeries are conducted at different centers in Pune by a registered Veterinary surgeon. Currently CCC conducts surgeries at Kothrud, Karve Road, Bavdhan, Bhugaon and Wagholi but it plans to spread its outreach to all parts of Pune.
Animal welfare volunteers who feed and care for stray dogs are requested to avail of CCC’s free services and get the dogs under their care neutered by them. People living in societies who have stray dogs in and around the area can also get them for sterilisation to the closest CCC center. Many vasti dwellers and tapri owners keep free roaming pet dogs which mate with strays and increase the population of strays in the area. Local Corporators and Ward Office medical officers should convince these owners to get their dogs sterilised and vaccinated so that the community at large is safe from dog bites and Rabies.