Panchkula is witnessing an outbreak of the canine kind. With mercury going through the roof, the number of dog bite cases in the township is also rising at an alarming pace.
Dr Santosh Jain, district nodal officer for rabies, says he sees almost 20 cases of dog bites a day in the city. These are the official figures, the actual numbers could be higher.
Panchkula Citizens Welfare Association president S K Nayyar laments that not a day passes without some shocking cases of dog bites. These cases have prompted the Panchkula MC to issue a mobile helpline (9876252622) for general public to report any aggressive street dog.
The year began with a whopping 561 cases of dog bites in January, which went down to 342 in March before dipping to 302 in April. But come May, and the numbers are spiralling.
As per the data provided by animal husbandry department, the city’s population of street dogs has surpassed 6,000 and is growing at a very rapid pace.
The sharp rise in the number of dog bite cases has prompted the civic body to issue fresh directions to NGO Bezubaan Sanstha to sterilise 500 street dogs every month.
While urging residents to use the helpline, an MC official said on receiving the complaint, a team of dog catchers will reach the spot, catch the dog and take it to the sterilisation centre at Sukhdarshnpur village dog centre. After five to six days of sterilisation, the team will release the dog at the same spot from where it was captured as it is illegal to keep a dog at the pound as per guidelines issued by the National Animal Welfare Board.
Dr Mukta Kumar, CMO, Civil Hospital, Sector 6, said the authorities are aware of the dog bite cases and there is no shortage of rabies vaccines at the hospital. “Complete vaccine cycle is being administered to the needy at the hospital. Earlier, there was a minor disruption in the supply chain but now it’s back on track.”
The sterilisation drive at the Sukhdarshanpur dog centre resumed in March after Bezubaan Sanstha stopped work due to lack of basic facilities at the centre.
Ever since the resumption of this drive in March, the NGO has sterilised 765 dogs till May 15.
Talking to The Indian Express, Shaurya Galhotra, president of the NGO, said, “Our team is currently neutering eight to 10 dogs in a day due to lack of facilities at the centre. The basic infrastructure issues pointed at the house meeting are being rectified by the MC. We hope to pick up pace in the coming days to surpass the MC’s monthly target of neutering 500 mutts.”
The private agency has been directed to send photographs of all such dogs to MC officials besides making a cut on their ears for identification.
Nayyar lamented that the Sukhdarshanpur sterlisation centre, which was touted as a permanent solution for stray dog menace, turned out to be a wastage of crores. “We should draw a comprehensive plan by roping in more NGOs to increase the pace of sterilisation.”