Street dog numbers on the rise

The stray population in Bengaluru is now 3.09 lakh, a 40 per cent increase from 2012. That’s because some of those who won animal birth control tenders backed out
Last Updated 27 December 2019, 19:55 IST

The population of stray dogs in Bengaluru has gone up by 40 per cent in three years, a census has revealed.

Top BBMP officials admit the Animal Birth Control (ABC) Programme slowed down.

Conducted by the BBMP, the livestock census puts the stray dog population at 3.09 lakh, as against 1.85 lakh in 2012. The census in 2007 put the numbers at 1.83 lakh.

According to senior officials with the Animal Husbandry Department of BBMP, Bommanahalli ward has the most stray dogs: 5,000. Rajarajeshwari Nagar (zone wise) has the highest number of licensed dogs: 52,000.

While 2017-18, the BBMP neutered 35,266 dogs, the numbers marginally rose to 45,151 in 2018-19. In the last eight months (April to November), the numbers are 25,596.

According to S Shashi Kumar, joint director, animal husbandry, Bengaluru South and West have done badly in the ABC programme because those who won the tenders backed out.

“It is being implemented in the other six zones,” says Shashi Kumar.

The BBMP has no trained dog catchers, which is one of the reasons for the low neutering numbers.

“The only people we have are those from the Northeast. We don’t get local people to do the job,” he says.

Even if the regular BBMP staff spend half a day, trying to catch a stray, they don’t succeed because the dog senses their presence and hides till they leave, he says.

If 60 per cent of the female dogs are neutered, the population growth can be controlled, he reckons.

“Here, again, we have a problem because the male dogs get aggressive when the catchers target the female dogs,” he says.

He says the ABC programme has failed because if only male dogs are neutered, the population will still increase.

“Female dogs litter twice a year. If one dog gives birth to five puppies, they, in turn, give birth again. In six years, the dog population increases to 60,000. This has added to the numbers,” he says.

BBMP Commissioner B H Anil Kumar says ABC groups are active in all 198 zones of the city.

They are in charge of capturing strays, neutering them, and putting them back where they came from.

Dogs neutered

2017-18 35,266

2018-19 45,151

2019* 25,596

(till November)

Shwana (dog) app launch on January 1
The Shwana app, developed by the BBMP, is under trial and will be launched on January 1.

“The dog catchers will take a picture of every dog caught, and post its address, ward and zone. The dog will be neutered and released, with the catchers again take taking a picture in the area,” says a senior official.

He says the app will help contain complaints that dogs taken from one area are dropped in another. “This will instil fear among BBMP workers who indulge in such acts. They will be penalised,” he says.

AWBI should relax rules

Nandita Subbarao, a resident of RMV II stage and volunteer for the ABC programme, says the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) should relax its rules for Bengaluru to allow non-accredited groups to participate in neutering strays. “This will help more dogs get neutered. There are three AWBI-accredited organisations (CUPA for South zone, Sarvodaya for West zone, and ASRA for Yelahanka, RR Nagar and Mahadevapura zones). They have their hands full and are unable to cope with the increasing volume,” says Nandita. With an efficient communication and monitoring system, she says, non-accredited NGOs too could be roped into the ABC programme. “My area has been served by two non-accredited NGOs and I have had no problem with them,” she says.

No concerted effort
Supritha Das, a resident of Rajarajeshwari Nagar, says the increasing stray dog population in her area frightens children and the elderly. “There have been no incidents of stray dog attack so far but the sheer volume of these dogs is scary. We have seen a BBMP van come once or twice to neuter the dogs. The ABC programme has never been successfully done in our area,” says Supritha. She also feels the BBMP staff are not trained enough to catch the dogs. “They give up after the first few attempts. There are no concerted efforts,” she adds.

(Published 27 December 2019, 13:04 IST)

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