The three Municipal Corporations of Delhi (MCDs) have failed to tackle the menace of violent stray dogs despite mounting complaints from citizens about the problem in their colonies. The dog population in the capital has been rising rapidly due to a lack of resources and almost no effort on the part of the Delhi government to tackle the problem.
Apparently, nobody knows the number of dogs in the city and at what rate their population has been rising, but all agree that there are many more dogs than there should be. Giving details about the number of dogs sterilised and immunised, Y.S. Mann, PRO, North MCD, said, “Around 15,228 dogs have been sterilised and immunised by North MCD from 2014-July 2016 and the East Delhi Municipal Corporation sterilised and immunised around 12,194 dogs between April 2014-June 2016.”
A veterinary in the North MCD, requesting anonymity, said, “We don’t have a dog census yet. The issue has been raised several times, but nobody has taken a serious note. But the MCD has started work in the walled city to ascertain the dog population. An assumed ratio is of 40:1 which would mean that there are about 1.5-1.75 lakh dogs in the capital as once mentioned in a WHO report. The desired level of dogs sterilised and immunised is considered at around 60-70% of the total population. Even without the right statistics, one can clearly see that we are far from the desired numbers. The MCDs don’t have their own veterinary facilities to do the job. At present, we pay Rs 770 per dog to an NGO if the dog is picked up by them and the charge is Rs 700 if the MCD picks up the dog and hands it over to the NGO for sterilisation and immunisation. There are only 8 NGOs with whom we have tied up so far.”
Speaking about dog behaviour, Adnaan Khan, a dog psychologist and Delhi-based entrepreneur who started the “K9-dog training centre”, said, “The reason behind the dog ‘menace’ is us. There are many people who feed stray dogs. If a dog easily gets two-four meals a day without having to work hard for it, it will become possessive about its territory. When people who don’t like dogs try to chase them away, the dogs see them as a threat. Adnaan said: “There is no doubt that the dog population has increased manifold. There is an immediate need to start a nationwide dog sterilisation drive by the government. However, a slack system and corruption have ensured misuse of allocated funds. The designated NGOs, too, do not work with any synchronisation.”
The North MCD veterinary said, “The Animal Husbandry department have as many as 77 hospitals where, with added resources, large scale sterilisation drives are possible.”