Wednesday December 08, 2021

SHC seeks plan for implementation of stray dogs control programme

October 21, 2020

The Sindh High Court on Tuesday directed the local government secretary to submit an action plan with a proper timeline for implementation of the government’s stray dogs control programme.

Hearing a petition calling for the control of the population of stray dogs and demanding the availability of free anti-rabies vaccines, a division bench, headed by Justice Mohammad Ali Mazhar, expressed concerns over media reports on dog-bite incidents and the shortage of vaccination at public hospitals.

The local government secretary submitted a progress report in which he stated that on the direction of the court, a complaints centre for stray dogs was functioning and numerous complaints had been received and acted upon.

He said a mass vaccination programme for stray dogs was started with private hospitals and non-governmental organisations, however, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it had been halted but it would restart soon.

He said a task force was performing its duties to control stray dogs’ population. He said they felt a need for revising the PC-I for the programme to fight rabies and check the population of stray dogs at Rs1,074 million for its better implementation.

The Sindh Rabbies Control Programme’s project director sought time to go through the PC-I. The court observed that it had already ordered the submission of the action plan with a timeline. The counsel for the District Municipal Corporations as well as the cantonment boards said they were performing their duties as per the law, mentioning that they had established dog control cells and they were making all possible efforts to control the dog-bite incidents in their respective territorial jurisdictions.

The high court directed the cantonment boards and the DMCs to continue their campaign against stray dogs and submit compliance reports. The court directed the local government secretary to submit an action plan with a proper timeline for proper implementation of the stray dogs control programme by November 11.

Petitioner Advocate M Tariq Mansoor had submitted in the petition that Sindh Health Minister Dr Azra Pechuho had given a statement before the provincial assembly that over 92,000 dog-bite cases had been reported across Sindh during the year that ended on June 30, 2019, and there was a shortage of anti-rabies vaccine due to the ongoing tension with India and the closure of a Chinese company’s operations. The petitioner had maintained that dog-bite incidents had been worsening day by day due to the failure of the provincial and local administration to cope with the situation as neither were the stray dogs caught nor was the anti-rabies vaccine available in hospitals.