Navy's 'dog-fight' to clear canines from Goa airport

After stray dogs wandering on the runway of Goa's only airport at Dabolim put two flights at risk in one month, the Indian Navy is set a 'dogfight' mode to tackle the wandering canines.  DH file photo for representation

After stray dogs wandering on the runway of Goa's only airport at Dabolim put two flights at risk in one month, the Indian Navy is set a 'dogfight' mode to tackle the wandering canines.  

The Indian Navy has tied up with the state government to clear stray dogs from the Dabolim International Airport premises, which functions out of the Indian naval base INS Hansa in South Goa. The runway is also used by MiG-29K fighter jets which operate from the base, which makes clearing strays from the runway even more essential.

"The increase in rampant throwing of garbage outside the airport and areas around Dabolim - Bogmalo has resulted in an increase in dog and bird menace at the airport, which is seriously impinging the safety of passengers," the Indian Navy said in a statement issued on Monday.

"INS Hansa along with Government of Goa has taken proactive steps to remove dogs from the vicinity of the runway," the statement also said.

In August this year, an Air India flight inbound at night from Mumbai had to abort its landing, after an alert pilot spotted stray dogs on the runway. The chief Air Traffic Controller later said that they missed spotting the stray canines on the runway because it was dark.

Another accident was averted on September 2, after an Air Asia flight to Delhi was forced to abort take-off after the ATC officials spotted stray dogs on the runway.

Naval authorities have already written to local panchayats, asking them not dump garbage in the vicinity of the airport, but the requests appear to have gone unheeded. The Indian Navy has now tied up with Goa government's department of Animal Husbandry and an NGO, World Veterinary Services, in a bid to relocate dogs from the airport premises.

"We have commenced removing and relocating dogs since mid-August. The project, funded by State Government, has resulted in the relocation of 60 dogs in last fortnight," the Indian Navy said.

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