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December 5, 2019

Govt to set up 64 units to control stray dogs, SHC told

Karachi

December 5, 2019

The government has planned to establish 64 anti-rabies units that will run a trap-neuter-release programme to curb the population of stray dogs in the province, while animal shelter centres will also be set up, the local government secretary told the Sindh High Court (SHC) on Wednesday.

Hearing a petition that sought controlling the population of stray dogs and the availability of free rabies vaccine, the SHC’s division bench headed by Justice Mohammad Ali Mazhar inquired the LG secretary with regard to the immediate forming of a task force to bring down the number of dog-bite cases across the province.

LG Secretary Roshan Ali Sheikh placed on record a notification issued on November 19 with regard to the constitution of the task force that will review the existing legal frame work of the laws, rules and regulations as well as the existing methods of checking the growth in the population of stray dogs.

Sheikh said the task force will review modern and more humane methods of checking the growing population of stray dogs that are being successfully implemented in cities across the developed world.

He said the task force will monitor and regulate the existing mechanism of culling stray dogs until the new project is implemented as well as monitor the progress of Sindh’s street dog population control and the fight against rabies project.

He added that overall 192 veterinary dispensaries and hospitals are available in the province, and initially the government has planned to establish 64 anti-rabies units to stop stray dogs’ population besides setting up animal shelter centres with the assistance of NGOs.

The official said the government has started vaccination, and with the help of private hospitals 16,000 rabies vaccines have been administered to various stray dogs.

He also sought time for the approval of a scheme with regard to the fight against rabies and the population control of street dogs, as well as for further proceedings and development to curb dog-bite cases.

The court directed him to submit a compliance report with regard to the approval of the PC-I by December 20, saying that all the members of the task force should make sincere efforts in the larger public interest to solve the issue. The court stressed on providing relief to the public from dog-bite incidents that have become a common phenomenon in society, and all such authorities are responsible for controlling these incidents in their territorial limits.

The Clifton, Faisal, Korangi and Malir cantonment boards submitted their replies mentioning that they have already established dog control cells and are making all possible efforts in the larger public interest against stray dogs to control dog-bite incident in their respective territorial jurisdictions.

The court directed the cantonment boards and the district municipal corporations to continue their respective campaigns against stray dogs as well as submit their compliance reports.

Petitioner M Tariq Mansoor Advocate had said in his petition that Health Minister Dr Azra Pechuho had given a statement in the Sindh Assembly that more than 92,000 dog-bite cases had been reported across the province during the year ending on June 30, and the shortage of rabies vaccines due to the ongoing tension with the neighbouring India and the closure of a Chinese company’s operations.

He said dog-bite incidents have been worsening day by day due to the failure of the provincial and local administrations to deal with the situation, as stray dogs had either not been detained or rabies vaccines were not available at public hospitals.

The court was requested to direct the provincial and local governments to take the necessary steps for vaccinating, detaining and controlling the population of stray dogs in accordance with international world health organisation’s guidelines and ensure supply of rabies vaccines at government hospitals.