Animal Welfare Volunteers of Chennai, on Wednesday, November 1, 2023, participated in a meeting with the Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC), to address their concerns about street and community dogs in the city.
The discussion meeting involved officials from GCC’s Veterinary wing, dog catchers, and members of the Tamil Nadu Animal Welfare Board.
Corporation Commissioner, J. Radhakrishnan, classifying dogs into three categories: street, community, and pet dogs, emphasised the urgent need for a dog census and to address animal-human conflict. He pointed out that one unsterilised dog couple could produce 512 pups. The Corporation, he said, which had conducted a dog census last in 2018, is to join hands with Worldwide Veterinary Service International Training Centre (Wvs ITC) for a new census now, which is to begin by the end of this year.
According to GCC’s Veterinary Officer J. Kamal Hussain, no human rabies deaths have been reported in the past three years. However, there are still approximately 30,000 dog bites recorded annually, including those from domestic dogs, he said.
The volunteers raised concerns about the ineffective return of sterilised dogs to their original locations, leading to the addition of new dogs on the streets, causing disturbances and fear amongst the public, especially in areas like Kilpauk. To tackle these issues, the volunteers proposed the use of GPS trackers on vehicles used to capture dogs. They also advocated for their involvement alongside dog catchers, when necessary.
The meeting also shed light on several problems within the system, including instances of sterilised female dogs getting pregnant, misconduct by dog catchers, and outdated capturing nets that cause harm to the animals.
Additional Commissioner (Health) Shankar Lal Kumawat instructed officials to share contact details of relevant officers with the volunteers, and hold workshops to sensitise catchers on eligible dogs for sterilisation.
Animal Welfare Board member Shruti Vinod Raj asked for a hotline for complaints. She said that when complaints go directly to the dog catchers, some discharge the dogs at locations where they do not belong. A hotline would enable volunteers to contact officials regarding the discharge process, minimising pressure on catchers and eliminating the possibility of charging for the service, she said.
“Post-op care must be strictly four days, as per AWBI [Animal Welfare Board of India] guidelines. If the surgery has not been done, let the dog be brought back on the seventh day,” she said. She also stressed that the GCC must finalise the move to administer Canine Distemper [CD] vaccines pre or post the sterilisation surgery.
ABCs to be modernised
The Chennai Corporation said it was modernising the Animal Birth Control (ABC) centres in Pulianthope, Lloyd’s Colony and Kannammapet under the Singara Chennai 2.0 project for ₹19.7 crore.
Moreover, GCC officials announced the procurement of six new dog-catching vehicles to bolster their efforts to control the street dog population, and said GPS trackers could be added to these vehicles.