Twenty-one people have died from rabies and an estimated one million have been bitten by dogs in Kerala so far this year. The recent death of a 12-year-old child after being bitten by a stray animal has raised public anger
The streets of Kerala are home to around 280,000 wanderers and their population is increasing by around 20% every year. PTI
The southern state of Kerala is facing a ruff period. Amid rising incidents of lethal stray dog behavior and rising rabies deaths, the state government has said it will seek Supreme Court permission to put down aggressive stray dogs and infected with rabies.
Local Government Minister MB Rajesh said the decision was taken after a high level meeting was convened to discuss the heartbreaking situation resulting from stray dogs in the state. He also announced that a mass animal vaccination program for birth control would be carried out from September 20 to October 20. About 10,000 dogs will be vaccinated every day under the program run by local authorities.
Rajesh also disclosed that a long-term solution for the threat of stray dogs was also discussed at the meeting, where panchayat-level shelters emerged as one of them.
What is the reason for the decision of the government of Kerala to approach the Supreme Court? We look better.
The threat of stray dogs in Kerala
The state has long struggled with the problem of stray dogs. According to available information, the streets of Kerala are home to around 280,000 wanderers and their population is increasing by around 20% every year. Additionally, another 900,000 dogs are kept as pets in Kerala.
This year so far, around 100,000 people have been bitten by stray dogs and 21 rabies deaths have been reported.
Of the 21 deaths, authorities said five had received rabies vaccinations. The case attracted national and international media attention when a 12-year-old girl, identified as Abhirami, from Perunadu in Pathanamthitta district died on September 5 of rabies after being bitten in August. His death sparked demands for strict action against stray dogs.
Another incident on September 5 also focused on wanderers in the state; eight people were attacked by a stray dog in Attingal in Thiruvananthapuram district.
There are many cases of stray dogs attacking people and biting them. On September 11, a 12-year-old boy, Nooras, was riding a bicycle outside his house in Arakkinaru, Kozhikode district, when a street dog suddenly jumped on him and started biting him, before his family get him to safety. news minute
Stray dog attack in Kerala… The stray food lobby must be happy for this…
Stray dogs are not an endangered species for anyone to protect them…. https://t.co/sejF3PI4lf
— Indu Makkal Katchi (Offl) 🇮🇳 (@Indumakalktchi) September 12, 2022
Manorama online reported that on September 7, 26 people were bitten by stray dogs statewide. Among them, several were children.
Opposition leader VD Satheesan addressing India today said: “It is a heartbreaking situation in Kerala, with more than two dozen people, mostly women and children, being bitten by stray dogs every day. The state government does nothing to provide them with quality health care.
Some of the reasons for the increase in the stray dog population are poor waste management, improper neutering of stray dogs, and shortage of rabies vaccines.
Kerala has long struggled with the menace of stray dogs. In 2016, the state saw a massive campaign to kill stray dogs. José Maveli, as reported by BBC, was one of the men taking part in the campaign and wanted to end what he called the “canine menace”. He was then quoted as saying, “The government should allow people to kill life-threatening dogs.”
What does the government do?
The leftist government has announced that it will carry out a massive dog vaccination campaign from September 20, aimed at stemming the problem of stray dogs.
In fact, the government has already taken action, including setting up Animal Birth Control (ABC) centers in 152 blocks. Currently, 37 centers are in place.
Vaccination of stray dogs is a practical solution to combat the threat and helps ensure that dog bites do not become fatal.
The animal birth control project, initiated by the livestock department, has only sterilized 20,000 dogs since 2016, underscoring the program’s failure.
dog lovers talk
Animal rights activists are speaking out against the Kerala government’s decision to cull ‘aggressive’ and rabies-infected dogs.
Some of the activists have taken the case to the Supreme Court, opposing the culling of the dogs and providing a set of alternative proposals that can help solve the problem.
Dog lovers said if the court allowed stray animals to be put down, it would breach the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960, which limits the killing of any animal (including stray dogs) by any method.
Sreedevi S Kartha, a member of People for Animals, told New Indian Express: “The media should stop the hate campaign against stray dogs. People are becoming more hostile towards stray dogs due to unfair coverage and resorting to illegal practices like poisoning to kill stray dogs. Killing canines is not a healthy solution.
The Supreme Court hearing the case had previously called for a balance between being kind to stray dogs and the need to protect people from stray dog aggression. He even observed that those who feed stray dogs should be held accountable for the violence of these dogs.
With contributions from agencies
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