JMC dog population control programme violating SC guidelines

TNN Bureau. Updated: 3/20/2017 3:27:27 PM Ideas and Interaction

JMC!!! Please Control Jammu’s Dog Population “The Right way”

Rumpy Madaan
Jammu, Mar 20: Jammu’s stray dog population is a cause of concern for everybody. The increasing population of dogs to a precarious level is leading to rising cases of man-animal conflicts resulting in dog bites on one hand and animal abuse on the other. The need is to control their population in our city. While cities like Jaipur have taken a lead in setting an example as to how to control stray dogs’ population as the Pink City has been running a successful dog sterilization and vaccination programme for two decades without culling the animals, the City of Temples still need to learn a lot from them.
With the aim to control the dog population in Jammu city, the Jammu Municipal Corporation (JMC) has finally given a tender for Animal Birth Control (ABC) to an NGO from Nasik, Maharashtra because sterilization of dogs is the only permissible as well as the right way to control the stray dog population in the long run, provided it is done in a scientific manner as per the standard operating procedures (SOP) laid down by Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI). Otherwise this programme will not have any effect on controlling and later bringing down the number of street animals to a level where peaceful co-existence is achieved.
Though this step is indeed appreciated by all the animal activists and animals lovers like me who have been working in the area for the past 20 years now, first alone and now through my charity organization Save Animals Value Environment (SAVE), the JMC has not followed certain directives issues by the hon’ble Supreme Court of India under its Order dated 18th November 2015 with regard to birth control programme of stray dogs.
As per the Supreme Court guidelines, all the State Municipal Corporations, Municipal committees, district boards and Local bodies have to be guided by the Act and the Rules and it is the duty and obligation of the Animal welfare Board of India to see that they are followed with seriousness. There are some important directions of the Hon'ble Supreme Court which are needed to be followed in letter and spirit for the actual success of the ABC Programme.
The first and foremost SC guideline is to undertake a survey done of the number of street dogs by an independent agency in the city or area. This is essential to know before starting a Sterilization programme as the Sterilization should be faster than the rate of growth of dog population.
Sadly, the first basic step of Animal Birth Control (ABC) started by JMC, Jammu has not been taken. If the first step has not been taken or is faulty, it is simple to understand that all other steps would meet the same fate or JMC can simply tend to forget the SC guidelines which are very important for controlling dog population.
Secondly, the ABC monitoring committee has to be formed to see the programme is conducted in a right and humane manner plus the precious resources, time and money reaps maximum benefits in the interest of the society at large. The SC guidelines say that this monitoring committee has to comprise of Commissioner/ Chief of the local authority, representative of the public Health Department of the local authority, representative of the Animal Welfare Board of India, a veterinary Doctor, a representative of district Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals(SPCA), at least two representatives from animal welfare organizations operating within the said local authority and representative of the common people who is a humanitarian or a well known individual who has experience in animal welfare in the locality.
The guidelines clearly mention that there should not be selective sterilization but in a scientific manner and the area to covered has to be divided into sections and starting from the Outer Ring Road, the programme has to move towards the centre of the city for maximum benefit.
Ironically, this too is not happening. Instead of picking up stray dogs from outer ring, the dogs have been picked up from areas like Janipur (the argument is that they are doing it Ward-wise throwing the SC guidelines to the winds). The process of sterilization (both pre and post operation) is itself questionable which I would deal with in my forthcoming articles.
Clearly, the Jammu Municipal Corporation is not adhering to the SC guidelines which also say that the JMC has to publish the Sterilization Schedule in the leading newspapers both English and Hindi. There has to be no mixing of dogs from different localities as confusion can lead to releasing of sterilized dogs in wrong locality, leading to increase in dog bite cases.
Other Supreme Court guidelines include humane capture of stray dogs, preoperative considerations, surgical protocols, post-operative care, anti-rabies vaccinations and safe release of animals in there right locality ( I would pick up all these issues in my next series of articles).
Dogs typically reproduce twice a year. And to control their population the rate of sterilization must be greater than their rate of reproduction. Typically, this sort of stability in dog populations is achieved when 70% of them have been sterilized.
Although ABC programme is beneficial to both humans and animals, every person has a role to play in its success, plus humanity costs nothing but has rich returns for our souls.
Though serious questions are being raise over the manner JMC has started ABC in Jammu few days ago only, here is what as the member of the civil society or animal lover or animal rights activist or animal sympathizer, each one of us can do.
As concerned residents of your locality, please record the number of dogs lifted from your lane or locality with complete details of their colours, gender etc .If you see any brutality during dog catching, please stop the staff or complain about them and mind you, you have a right to do so. You can even lodge an FIR with the police. Click picture to identify the dogs when bought back after Sterilization. Don't be happy if the dogs lifted from your locality are not bought back, rather call the helpline number 100 of the police and make a complaint.
It is responsibility of the JMC to bring back your same sterilized dogs to your locality and it they are not bought back; unsterilized dogs from other localities will soon move in and fill the vacuum. So the benefit of sterilized dogs will be lost to you and unfamiliar dogs can lead to dog bites out of fear.
When the sterilized dogs are bought back they need little care and compassion from you. Feed them, in case a dog is unwell or open stitches inform the animal welfare organizations or animal lovers or corporation to do the needful. Remember, JMC is bound to help you for this and they cannot refuse the same. Besides, media has an important role to play in regularly presenting a more balanced view, educating people and busting dog bite myths. We would be roping media in a big way in future.
The JMC has to adhere to all the rules and regulations besides the SC guidelines and you and me have to work together as members of the civil society. By collaborating we can - and I believe we will- see a day when dog protectors far outweigh those stray people who have missed the obvious : that dogs are , indeed humanity's best friends.
Jaipur, which is three times as big as Kerala’s largest city Kochi, has been held up as one of the models for stray dog population control. Help In Suffering – India kicked off the Animal Birth Control programme in parts of Jaipur in November 1994. The NGO was so efficient that by December 2002 the incidence of rabies had fallen to zero in programme areas even as they rose in other parts of the city. The same can be achieved in Jammu too provided all guidelines are followed and no rules of SC guidelines are violated by the JMC. (The author is the Honorary Animal welfare officer of Animal Welfare Board of India and a well known animal rights activist of Jammu)

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