Palike's all bark, no bite

Palike's all bark, no bite

Palike's all bark, no bite

BBMP has initiated several measures to curb the canine population, but the results have not been very encouraging. DH file PhotoThe growing number of dog-bite cases has forced the civic authorities to think out of the box, and explore solutions beyond the traditional methods. The focus is now on finding the reason for canines going berserk.

Experts point out that dogs normally do not attack unless provoked; they bite mainly to defend themselves or due to fear. According to Rakesh Shukla, the founder of Voice of Stray Dogs, heaps of garbage in public places are at the root of the problem. “Dogs are scavengers and they eat garbage. If there is no edible garbage, dog populations will disappear,” he explains, citing analyses and data from studies. But he points out that dog-bite cases cannot be reduced to zero in the City spread over 750 sq km, with a population of approximatively 80 lakh. The sheer numbers, 1.8 lakh strays and 1.4 lakh pet dogs, make the task of curbing their population difficult.

Amrut Sridhara Hiranya, a dog behaviourist, doesn’t want to generalise. “Not all dogs are a nuisance. Why do people generalise? The public knowledge about sick dogs are those with rabies or scabies. But dogs also have behavioural problems. As a responsible citizen, it is important to inform the BBMP or animal welfare organisations about abnormal behaviour of dogs in your locality,” he said.

BBMP programme

The Palike launched animal birth control (ABC) and anti-rabies vaccination (ARV) drives in 2001. Till date, over 3.6 lakh dogs have been subjected to ABC and ARV administered on another four lakh. For the year 2010-11, ABC has been conducted on 69,141 dogs and ARV administered on 1,61,419 dogs under the programmes executed by NGOs working for the BBMP.

Dr Parvez Ahmad Piran, Joint Director, Animal Husbandry, BBMP, says at present ABC and ARV are being executed in full swing and at this rate, dog population can be controlled in the next three years.

“Executing these programmes is a Herculean task. Dogs cannot be caught easily as they hide and alert their creed about dog-catchers. Despite making huge efforts, many dogs go missing in our programmes,” he added.

Dr Piran said dogs normally do not cross their territories. But during breeding season, they do cut across territories and during one of their migration phases, there can be incidents of dog bites due to aggression. Dogs attack due to sexual aggression, maternal aggression, rabies, territorial aggression, fear and provocation.

The BBMP’s ABC and ARV take care of sexual and maternal aggression by removing the reproductive glands in the animal and ARV takes care of rabies, he explained.

Mauling toddlers

The death of two children this year, supposedly due to dog bites, could actually have been caused due to other reasons, Dr Piran said.

“Two toddlers, one in Bagalur and another in Yelahanka did not die due to dog attack. Normally, when a dog bites, there are irregular tears or laceration marks on the body which were not found on these two children. These children may have died due to other reasons, which still need to be investigated,” he added.