In a bid to intensify its dog sterilisation programme, control the rising dog population and implement an anti-rabies vaccination scheme effectively across Mumbai, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is planning to hire seven vans for seven civic zones along with skilled dog catchers. The civic body has already finalised a contractor for hiring the vans and will be spending 2.38 crores on the project.
As per the agreement, the contractor, Aarti Corporation, is expected to provide seven vans for two years. The proposal of the same will be tabled before the civic standing committee on Friday for the final nod.
Nearly 50 percent post of dog catchers/staff is vacant in BMC, its dog sterilisation project and vaccination scheme for rabies was hit hard during the last two to three years due to this.
"Unless we hire skilled dog catchers we will not be able to reach the target," said an official from the civic dog control department. According to sources, currently there are only four dog catchers for the entire city.
Each van of the seven vans to be deployed will have four skilled staffers each, who will lead the dog sterilisation drive and vaccination programme. The BMC will spend Rs 2.38 crore on the contract.
The civic body has set a target of sterilising 32,000 dogs in a year. “To control the stray dog population, the Animal Welfare Board (AWB) of India had directed to sterilise 30 per cent of stray dogs. Keeping that in account more than 30,000 dogs are supposed to be sterilised annually considering a target of 1.02 lakh stray dogs in next three years,” said a senior BMC official.
According to the BMC’s stray dog census conducted in 2007, there were around 75,000 stray dogs in Mumbai.
However, in the 2014 dog census conducted by the BMC, there were 95,172 dogs in the city. Of these, it was found that 25,935 dogs were not sterilised. According to the Dog Control department, one female dog gives birth to an average four puppies and in one year these puppies are ready for reproduction, leading to an exponential rise in the population of stray dogs.
Under the Animal Birth Control Programme, dog sterilisation is being executed by BMC staff and NGOs. Now the new contractor has been given a target of catching 34,944 dogs. In 1994, the BMC had for the first time initiated the dog sterilisation project.
"Extrapolating by the street length from the street counts and by area from the slum counts gave us an estimate of 66,087 and 29,085 dogs roaming on the streets and in the slum areas respectively. Assuming no overlap between the two populations we came to a total of 95,172 roaming dogs across Mumbai, meaning there are 0.766 dogs per 100 people as per stray dog census 2014. The number must be much higher now," said another civic official.
According to BMC data, in six years (2014 to 2019) the civic body has sterilised 90,703 dogs, which is very less.
“Considering the dog population in Mumbai, every year about 30,000-32,000 dogs need to be sterilised. However in 2019, only 18,912 dogs were sterilised which is far less,” said the official added.
With a target of sterilising 32000 roaming dogs, the civic body has decided to pay Rs 680 per dog to the contractor for catching a dog, getting it sterilised and then leaving them back in their respective areas.