Quality and Efficiency Needed for Animal Birth Control

Bangalore City Environment Health Top Story

Fall in the number of stray dog sterilization continues to impeach the quality of the programme

By Saloni Arora

Bengaluru, Jan. 24, 2019.

Citizens for Animal Birth Control (CABC) activists have filed a petition demanding the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) to strengthen their Animal Birth Control (ABC) programme, following a drop in numbers of stray dog sterilization, and the shutting down of centers that performed surgeries. CABC demands quality, compassion, and efficiency of the ABC program.

In 1960, the government passed the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, which aimed to prevent unnecessary pain and suffering to animals. However, the mass killing of stray dogs continued. Nearly a decade later, the government amended this Act with Animal Birth Control rules in 2001. Instead of killing stray animals in the country, the government would sterilize them, vaccinate them against rabies, and then release them back to their original places.

“As part of the birth control program, BBMP is mandated to attend complaints about dogs from citizens of Bengaluru. Many dogs, especially mothers and pups get picked up, while the complaints relating to bites and rabid dogs are ignored”, confirmed Harini Raghavan, leadership hiring consultant and a member of CABC.

A street dog was operated by one of the birth control contractors in 2018 and was left with her guts spilling out. She was later picked up by a rescuer and given the required care, unfortunately, the damage was too much and she succumbed after a week-long struggle.

“Animal Birth Control is important to control the street dog population and the incidence of rabies in dogs and humans. If sterilization is properly done, female dogs will not breed, which will reduce their aggressiveness”, informed by Dr. Umar a veterinarian.

Geetha, a pet owner in Jayanagar said, “Stray dogs are part of the society and as human beings, it is our responsibility to look after them. Authorities have ignored these dogs since years despite the animal birth control program. A stray dog that had an accident a few weeks ago used to cry every night until it was taken to one of the centers, where it died. The lack of attention is the main reason, for the stray animals dying today”.

The Animal Husbandry, a Department under BBMP, has failed to give the required attention to animals, and as a result, the number of sterilizations has fallen.

The control programme is set up in Bengaluru under the guidance of Animal Welfare Board of India and under the charge of the BBMP, with the main objective of eliminating man-animal conflict and tackling the issue of rabies.

In Bengaluru, the BBMP Animal Husbandry team has set up eight zones namely Bengaluru East, Bengaluru South, Mahadevapura, Bengaluru West, Bengaluru North, RR Nagar, Peenya and Dasrahalli, and respective birth control contractors for these zones.

Harini Raghavan informed, “BBMP has set up six centers in the city which are capable of doing 30,000 surgeries a year. However, the number of dogs in the city is growing. The BBMP needs to attempt a proper dog census which will allow more successful surgeries to be performed. They also need to invest in constant training of veterinarians engaged in the program to have a safe and efficient birth control program”.

The activists, in the petition, has demanded BBMP to send their vets, para-vets catchers, center managers to Worldwide Veterinary Sciences in Goa or Ooty for efficient training in their respective roles. Only a reputed birth control master trainer vet should be engaged by BBMP to monitor and audit the program.

Rabies cases should be attended to within 90 minutes from the time of the complaint. Dogs should be dropped back exactly at the place where they were picked up for surgery. Stray dogs are also citizens of this country. If the authorities could focus on mass and safe sterilization, have trained vets, invest in training, and refuse to entertain non-bite complaints, this can lead to a safer environment for humans and dogs alike, suggested an expert from Charlie’s Animal Rescue Centre.