| Stray dogs at Mauryalok Complex on Tuesday. Picture by Ashok Sinha |
Day or night, barking stray dogs unleash terror on several city streets in the absence of a foolproof system of the civic body to reign in them.
Several bikers suffered injuries after being chased by stray dogs. They grow in numbers after every mating season in the absence of a proper sterilisation plan, exposing residents to dangerous diseases like rabies.
“There is no system in place to keep a check on stray dogs in the city. Most of them live in extremely unhygienic conditions and can carry harmful diseases such as rabies. The expenses on five shots of anti-rabies vaccine in case of being bitten by a stray dog vary in the range of Rs 2,000- 2,200. Patna Municipal Corporation (PMC) is responsible for their sterilisation but its authorities do not take any action in this regard,” said Patna zoo veterinarian Dr Ajit Kumar.
Ideally, the civic body have dog squads to catch unruly canines from the streets and sterilise them. But such a team has never been formed in the city.
Civic body bosses admitted the failure in controlling the street dog menace but promised to take a cue from other cities soon. “We had floated tenders for the sterilisation of stray dogs in 2010 but the bidding process could not be completed. No steps could be taken in this regard thereafter. We are aware that it is a serious issue. So, we are thinking to consult municipalities in other cities, which have successfully controlled the stray dog menace,” said Afzal Imam, the mayor of PMC.
Residents are virtually scared of the dog menace on streets. “There are around 100 dogs on the entire stretch of Ashiana-Digha Road. A motorist was recently injured after some dogs chased him near the Friend’s Colony Junction on this road,” said Ajay Kumar, a resident of Ashiana Nagar.
Residents squarely blamed the civic body for the street dog menace. “The civic body has not done anything to catch the street dogs in our neighbourhood despite numerous complaints. We do not feel safe on the streets at night because of the rise in the number of stray dogs,” said Boring Canal Road resident Rajesh Kumar.
Veterinary experts also claimed that due attention was not being paid to control the stray dog menace. “PMC never undertook any initiative to curb the number of stray dogs in the city. Ideally, they should catch the dogs from across the city and bring them to Bihar Veterinary College (near Patna airport) for sterilisation. Other birth control practices include taking out uterus of female dogs, so that they cannot reproduce. However, such a practice is not in vogue because the PMC is completely ignorant on this front,” said Dr Dharmendra Sinha, director, Institute of Animal Health and Production, Patna.
Sinha claimed that rabies was still in control in the city but things could go out of control if proper steps were not taken soon to tame the stray dogs.