GET STRAYS OUT OF CITY
BMC wants all of the city's stray dogs off the streets, says it
will place them in dog homes to be built on the outskirts of Mumbai
SANTOSH ANDHALE AND SUDHIR SURYAWANSHI
The BMC wants Mumbai to become a stray dog-free city. It has not
only asked the Bombay High Court for permission to set up dog homes
on the outskirts of Mumbai, where all strays could be shifted, but
has also written to the chief minister for 50 acres of land to set
up such homes.
While the corporation placed its proposal for the homes before
the court in April, deputy mayor Vidya Thakur (of the BJP) on Friday
dashed off a letter to Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh asking for
50 acres to build these homes for the city's five lakh strays. Thakur
has said in her letter that strays would continue to create trouble,
especially for children and elders, so long as they were allowed
to roam the streets, and it was best to confine them within homes
built for them.
Each dog home will house at least 10,000 strays, with a team of
vets and other BMC employees stationed there full-time to look after
the animals, she has said. The homes will have huge walls so that
people staying in adjoining localities are not disturbed, she has
Thakur also wants male and female strays to be placed in separate
kennels in these homes, "so that breeding stops altogether
and Mumbai becomes the first stray-free city in India."
According to Thakur, BMC has land at Deonar and Mulund to set
up homes, but that will not be enough. Hence the demand for government
She has also suggested the setting up of a three-member committee
comprising veterinary experts to oversee the entire plan.
Chief health executive officer at the BMC, Jayraj Thanekar said:
"We are working on shifting of strays and have identified places
in Deonar and Mulund for the shifting, but we will need more land
to accommodate all strays." He also admitted that the corporation
was thinking of separating male and female strays.
COURT NOD NEEDED
The court has asked the BMC to work out a plan for dog homes. However,
it is yet to approve of the BMC proposal.
Animal rights activists, however, are calling the idea unfeasible.
Anuradha Sawhney, chief functionary of PETA said: "Instead
of working on an idea that is not workable, the BMC should focus
on ensuring that sterilisation is done properly and effectively.
Strays should be kept only
in the city."
STATUS OF STRAYS
Mumbai has an estimated five lakh strays. The BMC stopped killing
them in 1994 after NGOs and animal welfare organisations moved high
court. The court suggested that BMC should sterilise dogs to control,
and finally reduce, the number of dogs in the city.
However, the sterilisation programme, which has been slow, has
failed to curb the dog population. The number of dogs has actually
increased, and so have the number of dog bites. In 2006, 45,000
dog-bites cases were registered and of the victims, 21 died.
At present, sterilisation is done by NGOs at 'dog ponds' in Malad
and Ghatkopar, land for which was given by the BMC.
However, Thakur said sterilisation had not been effective because
of apathy of the civic administration and NGOs.
EUTHANASIA FOR RABID DOGS
After the Bombay High Court gave permission to the BMC in April
to put sick dogs to sleep, the civic body, as per the court's directions,
recently asked all ward officers to conduct a survey of rabid, ill
and violent dogs in the city and also count those that were normal.
This census will be put before the civic body's euthanasia committee
formed to decide whether dogs suffering from diseases should be
treated or put to sleep.
Deputy mayor Vidya Thakur (left) has asked the CM for 50 acres
to set up dog homes.
Publication:Mumbai Mirror ; Date:May 28, 2007; Section:Front Page;