In the absence of proper licensing, pet dogs suffer and corporation too loses revenue. Postnoon in association with ARPF begins its to make investigations into this canine calamity
The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation has a population of 77 lakh (Census-2011) with 625 square kilometres administrative area. Surprisingly, there is no census to find out the pet dog population so far.
As per the existing Act, Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 and rules of the State government and Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI), animal census must be done after every five years.
In AP, the responsibility of undertaking a detailed animal census rests with the Animal Husbandry department. But the department has never bothered to undertake a census of livestock for lack of adequate staff and funds. “It is mandatory for us. But what can we do when we don’t have adequate staff to undertake the census. The enumeration process of dogs requires a lot of manpower and funds. It involves visiting every household and collect data about pets. We are not in a position to do that,” said Dr Vasu, assistant director of Animal Husbandry Department of Hyderabad.
According to Vasu, a random survey was done in 2007 in some localities of the City and it was found that about 60,000 dogs including pets were present in the City. “We can’t rely on this survey as it was only in some parts of the City,” he said. Again, it was not an exclusive survey of pet dogs. He said the department will undertake a comprehensive livestock enumeration process in October this year.
“We will undertake a 15-day enumeration drive and visit all the households to find out livestock population. This will also help us have an idea of the extent of stray dogs,” he said. In the last five years, the department of animal husbandry was inundated with a lot of complaints from various stake holders regarding the problems being faced by them due to the non-availability of the animal data. The animal husbandry department also has plans to handover the process of census to GHMC as it is entrusted with the responsibility of preventing stray dog menace.
GHMC lose income
On the other hand, chief veterinary officer, GHMC, Venkateswar Reddy rues that the non-availability of data pertaining to number of dogs in the corporation limits is causing a lot of problems including loss of income.
“The dog census will help us in many ways. The rule clearly states that every resident should take license if he or she has a pet dog by paying `50. But, sadly, we are unable to implement the rule as we don’t have a dog census,” Reddy said. He further says the corporation would get a lot of income if they issue pet licenses. According to Reddy, the corporation is planning to kick off a drive to issue licenses to dog owners on its own instead of waiting for the census report from the animal husbandry department. “We have been telling them to give us census reports but all our requests were unheard off. Now, we will start issuing licenses on our own,” he said.
4 lakh stray dogs
According to a rough estimate by GHMC officials, the corporation has about 4 lakh stray dogs. Reddy says the corporation had given a total of 3 lakh vaccines since 2001. “On an average we perform 15-20 surgeries every day apart from administration of vaccines to dogs. The main objective is to prevent the spread of rabies,” he said.
The GHMC has a total of 18 enforcement teams consisting of 4-8 members to deal with the stray dog menace in all its 18 circles. Every enforcement unit is equipped with a vehicle and the required apparatus. The members of these squads catch stray dogs and perform surgeries.