Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala: After facing criticism from animal rights groups over their decision to cull dangerous stray dogs, the Kerala government has now partnered with trained NGO's to deal with sterilising them, over 1.5 lakh cases of dog bites are reported every year in the state.
It was an early start for NDTV by following a team of the Humane Society International (HSI), an NGO that has been sterilising stray dogs for the past eight months in Thiruvananthapuram city, armed with nets, traps, biscuits, bones and lots of patience.
Dr Anubhav Khaguria, in-charge of the team says, "It's not about numbers. We bring the dogs, treat them with Animal Birth Control Procedures and give them anti-rabies injections... and send them back to the community happier. Even people welcome them better when they know they have been sterilised."
The mark of identification of a sterilised stray dog is a 'V' shaped cut seen on either of their ears. Apart from sterilising, HSI also gives them post-operative care, releasing them from where they were picked up. A GPS enabled collar tagging system is followed for the same reason.
But for the dog bite victims, it's still a lot of fear. One victim said, "I am still scared of dogs and how do we know if they are not rabies carriers. They can bite anyone, are filth and should be eliminated."
According to a survey conducted by the HSI, there are over 5000 stray dogs in the city. The organisation aims to ensure that 70 per cent of them are sterilised within the next 18 months.
The government is also in process of increasing the number of sterilising facilities and hired doctors on a temporary basis. But the decision to cull dangerous stray dogs after a certificate from veterinary experts has evoked an angry response from animal activists and hate social media hate campaigns asking people to "boycott Kerala".