More than 2,000 cases of dog bites are reported every month though Indore Municipal Corporation and many NGOs are working to control population of stray dogs in the city. The city has over 80,000 stray dogs whose sterlisation is a challenge as it requires proper planning and manpower. The fear of stray dog bites has grown to the extent that children and adults avoid walking on street if possible. In many residential areas, people cannot go for evening strolls and morning walks fearing the dogs in area.
According to World Health Organisation (WHO), India accounts for 36 percent of the total rabies deaths that occur worldwide each year. While one can develop the disease if bitten or scratched by any rabid mammal like monkeys or bats, WHO says dogs contribute up to 99 percent of rabies transmitted to humans. Children are its common victims.
Annually, 55,000 – 60,000 people die of rabies of which 20,000, that is nearly one-third, are from India, according to WHO. About 99 percent (97 percent in India) of these deaths are result of bites, exposures to dogs. A 2015 study published in peer-reviewed PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases corroborates this observation. The study says India witnesses about 20,800 rabies deaths every year, the highest in the world.
Further, a research published by MD Rozario Menezes stated that a person is bitten every two seconds, and someone dies from rabies every 30 minutes. The annual number of person-days lost because of animal bites is 38 million and the cost of post-bite treatment is about $25 million.
The Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules, 2001
- All dogs shall be classified in one of the two categories: pet dogs and street dogs.
- The owner of pet dogs shall be responsible for controlled breeding, immunisation, sterilisation and licensing in accordance with rules.
- The street dogs will be sterilised and immunised with help of animal welfare organisations, individuals and local authority.
- Sterilised dogs shall be vaccinated before release and ears of these dogs should either be clipped and/ or tattooed for identification. They may also be given token or nylon collars for identification and detailed records shall be maintained.
- Incurably ill and mortally wounded dogs diagnosed by qualified veterinarians shall be euthanised in a humane manner.
- No dog shall be euthanised in presence of another dog. It shall be ensured that the animal is dead before disposal. On receiving complaints, dog squad of local authority would catch dogs suspected to be rabid. The carcasses of these euthanised dogs shall be disposed of in an incinerator to be provided by local authority.
- A breeder must be registered with Animal Welfare Board of India and shall maintain full record of number of pups born/died from individual bitches. He or she must maintain record of person buying the pups. He should ensure that the buyer has the required knowledge for pups’ upkeep.
- With a plan to sterilise 80,000 stray dogs in the city, IMC plans to sterlise from 25 to 35 dogs per day to 120 to 130 per day.
- IMC health officer Dr Uttam Yadav said IMC is planning to hire more doctors to step up sterlisation drive. Staff members will be increased from 8 to 25.
- Currently operating with two vehicles, civic body to buy two more vehicles.
- Even if an ambitious figure of sterilising 200 dogs per day is set as target, IMC cannot achieve target of sterilising 80,000 dogs in the city by December as instructed by IMC commissioner Ashish Singh in August review meeting.
- According to survey data, city had 25,000 dogs four years back.
- Yadav said there are plans to build two more sterilisation centres, one near trenching ground and the other in Chawani to meet target of sterilising 120 dogs every day. Dogs and bitches are being sterilised under the drive.
- According to Yadav, municipal zone 1 to 5 has been covered for sterlisation. But some dogs have been left out. IMC will revisit the area again.
Dog bite cases
Hukumchand Polyclinic receives up to 40 patients of dog bites every day for anti-rabies vaccine. Polyclinic incharge Dr Ashutosh Sharma said dog bite cases increase during summer and monsoon season.
How to tackle dog bites?
Dr Sharma shared following tips
* Place a clean towel over the injury to stop bleeding.
* Keep injured area elevated.
* Wash the bite area with soap and water.
* Apply a sterile bandage to wound.
* Apply antibiotic ointment every day to prevent infection.
* Visit hospital for anti-rabies and tetanus vaccine as early as possible.