Rashid Paul

J&K HC directs SMC to improve city sanitation to curb menace of stray dogs

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Srinagar, May 01: With Kashmir recording around 31,000 dog bite cases in the last five years, the J&K High Court in order to curb the menace today directed the Commissioner Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) to take effective steps for improving city sanitation.

A division bench hearing a public interest petition on the threat posed by stray dogs today directed the Commissioner SMC to take effective steps for improving city sanitation and curbing the menace of stray dogs by reducing the availability of energy-rich garbage to stray canines.

The direction followed submissions by the counsel for petitioner that the garbage is dumped in and around various schools, hospitals, hotels and centre-points of city which is root cause for increasing the menace of stray dogs.

The court after hearing reports of dearth of anti-rabies vaccines in the lone anti-rabies clinic of Kashmir at its SMHS Hospital has already directed the State’s Health and Medical Education department to come up with details about the availability of medicines in the primary medical centers in Kashmir.

According to official data, the capital city of Srinagar has 40,000 to 45,000 stray dogs. The government is also claiming that the number has decreased significantly over the years.

A census conducted by the government revealed that the city had 90,000 stray dogs in 2011 and that the number has decreased to 45,000.

The decline in number is, however, being questioned by civil society groups who say the population of stray dogs cannot slide when the government has failed to come out with any practicable programme to control their population.

Nearly 31,000 cases of dog bites have been reported at the anti-rabies clinic of the SMHS Hospital between 2012 and 2017, reveals official data.

Traditionally SMC resorted to killing of stray dogs to restrain their population from turning in to a public menace. However, the practice ended with the apex court directions and certain animal welfare organizations to end the practice of killing.

The SMC then came out with the concept of catching and sterilizing the stray dogs in the city. However, the programme failed to take off due to extremely high costs.

According to an SMC report to the High Court, the Corporation required $191 million for construction of 1,800 dog pounds to tame stray dogs of Srinagar city.


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