The Telegraph
Monday , July 7 , 2014
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Hunt begins for canine curb agency

Wanted: skilled dogcatchers for capital Ranchi.

Two months after Hope and Animal Trust’s three-year contract expired, the RMC has launched a fresh bid to recruit another agency to rein in the stray menace in the city. The civic body on Sunday floated advertisements, inviting “experienced non-government organisations” for the job by July 18.

The RMC’s chief executive officer Manoj Kumar said the new agency was likely to be selected by July 21, the day when the bids would be opened for scrutiny. He added that the eligibility criteria primarily include a minimum experience of three years and accreditation from the Animal Welfare Board under the Centre.

Incidentally, in the past 14 years, the RMC has failed to set up a proper dog shelter in the city. Although a lone pound exists at Bakri Bazaar, it is shoddy and suffers from manpower crunch. No wonder canine attacks are common on busy roads and marketplaces. Around half a dozen bite cases were reported last week from the Doranda area alone.

In February, state-run Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) had come under serious threat after stray dogs attacked around 12 people, including kin of patients and doctors.

The same month, Ranchi Sadar Hospital had administered over 400 anti-rabies injections, of which around 200 victims hailed from the municipal area. If an official at the hospital is to be believed, 200-250 people turn up on an average for anti-rabies injections in a month.

“The menace increases during monsoon mating. Dogs either feel threatened or are overprotective towards their puppies and, thus, become more aggressive. Bikers at night are the worst victims. The drone of the machine unsettles canines who then chase bikers and often bite them,” said another hospital official.

Ironically, the RMC does not have an exact figure of the stray population. Hope and Animal Trust, the agency that undertook sterilisation and immunisation programmes on behalf of the civic body, put dog numbers at anywhere between 45,000 and 50,000.

“We believe the canine population hasn’t burgeoned over the last couple of years owing to our immunisation programme. For the past three years, we also managed to sterilise and immunise over 20,000 strays despite many challenges,” said Praveen Ohal, the head of the animal organisation.

Ohal maintained that for a long time they had been trying to acquire a plot of land where they could set up an ABC centre-cum-hospital.

“The Animal Welfare Board had agreed to sanction Rs 25 lakh for the project. We already received another Rs 10 lakh from an international NGO.

“But, we have no land. We have been planning a hospital-cum-training centre for other municipal bodies to help them control canine attacks. Except for Ranchi, barely any other city or town in Jharkhand has initiated sterilisation programmes,” he added.

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