Expert tip: Teach schoolchildren to avoid stray dogs

Expert tip: Teach schoolchildren to avoid stray dogs

Picture for representation only.

At a time when the BBMP has resumed its controversial animal birth control (ABC) programme, an expert has called for holding awareness programmes in schools and residential areas on dealing with stray dogs. 

Suparna Ganguly, co-founder trustee, CUPA (Compassion Unlimited Plus Action), an animal welfare organisation, said all ABC agencies must have awareness programmes for schoolchildren in their assigned areas, especially in educational institutions run by the BBMP.

"These programmes are essential to teach a child when to avoid a dog and how to not get bitten by using a simple set of instructions. In spite of this, there may be a bite, but it definitely would not be fatal. Also, revaccination on a consistent basis is again a mandatory part of the programme," she said. 

The suggestion comes a day after an 11-year-old boy died three days after being mauled by a pack of stray dogs. 

Suparna blamed the BBMP's animal husbandry department for failing to oversee, monitor, control and record the performance of agencies currently carrying out the ABC programme. "It is clear from the evidence that has come to light that the agencies are underperforming, not attending to public complaints, undertaking low-quality surgeries, releasing animals in the wrong places and thereby, the programme can only do more harm than good in the hands of such ruthless money-making machines," she said. 

She blamed the lack of experts for the failure of the ABC programme. "It is a possibility because most of the current agencies have no experience in the ABC programme. But importantly, it is the lack of will, coupled with corruption, at most levels," she added. 

Suparna recalled how the mauling of a child by stray dogs in the HAL area in 2007 had driven the BBMP into a knee-jerk reaction. The civic body started mass culling of operated and sterilised dogs all over the city.

"That incident taught us a deep lesson — neglect and ignorance of issues cannot cover up a tragedy and finally, after the terrible killings were over, the ABC had to be reinstituted after national and international protests forced the administration to do so, and the Supreme Court issued strict guidelines on the conduct of the programme," she said. 

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