Once bitten, twice shy

Once bitten, twice shy

Despite campaigns by the BBMP, the Citys stray dog problem persists

Once bitten, twice shy

Recently, a six-year-old child was mauled by a stray dog — allegedly without any provocation — near her home in Indiranagar. The dog was later caught and found not to be rabid, but the child sustained serious injuries to her face, lost a few teeth and hurt her hand. The aggression of this attack has once again cast the spotlight on the ugly matter of the City’s stray-dog menace.

Sterilising and vaccinating initiatives, taken up by the BBMP in association with organisations like CUPA, have already been implemented. In fact, the two bodies have been collaborating on the ABC (Animal Birth Control) Programme for around a decade now. The Animal Birth Control Centre in Koramangala, for instance, has been tackling the dog population of East Bangalore in a systematic manner. 

The centre has 24 wards under its jurisdiction, which includes areas like Nagawara, HRBR Layout, Banaswadi and Kamanahalli, as well as stretches in Indiranagar, Thippasandra and CV Raman Nagar. 

John Raj, the field officer at the centre, explains that two vans are sent out each day to circle these areas and scout for unvaccinated dogs. “On an average, we bring in 24 dogs a day. These are neutered and vaccinated, and released after five days of observation,” he says.

In addition to this, the BBMP has also undertaken several other measures to counter the problem, like introducing a helpline and targetting slums where breeding is rampant. 

Parviz Ahmed Piran, the joint director of the animal husbandry department at the BBMP, elaborates, “In most cases, bites are caused because of some form of provocation, ignorance or carelessness on behalf of parents. We’ve brought in awareness programmes at schools to prevent attacks. The few times that unprovoked bites occur, it is either because of rabies, maternal or sexual aggression — which we address through the ABC Programme.”

But the fact that the recent Indiranagar attack is far from an isolated incident indicates that a lot more needs to be done on this front. One factor which several citizens say contributes to the dog menace is the accumulation of garbage in the City. Anand, a student, states, “I used to stay in Uttarahalli. There’s a place there called Gubala, where huge numbers of dogs used to gather every evening. Largely, this was because of the garbage accumulated there. We complained to the flat association but were offered all kinds of excuses for inaction.”
Vanessa, a professional, agrees with this logic, saying, “I work in Koramangala and frankly, the trash situation in large parts of this locality is out of control. It’s high time the concerned wing of the BBMP did something about this because it’s only adding to the problem of stray dogs.”She also feels that the concerned authorities have to identify particular places where the problem is most common. 

“A specific approach would probably do more to solve the issue. For instance, I’ve noticed that many dogs gather around road-side meat shops. The proprietors of these makeshift establishments toss away bones and scraps — and because of the presence of food, the dogs get aggressive and territorial. By identifying other such problem areas and clamping down on them, the problem can be countered,” she sums up.