Srinagar: Officially there are around 48,000 dogs in Srinagar. However, the unofficial estimates are that they are more than 100,000.
Going by the data available, the ‘claims’ of the government to control the street dog population, seem a hoax.
People believe here that street dog numbers continue to affect people in majority of the areas of Srinagar city and this will be the trend if the authorities continue to do nothing. “The control methods used are inadequate, as trapping is rarely a method that is considered and is totally undervalued and underutilized,” one of the local residents of Srinagar city said.
People blame the authorities for not taking appropriate steps to reduce the increasing dog population. The cases reported with Socio and Preventive Medicine Department at the SMHS Hospital, the only tertiary care hospital in the Valley, has registered hundreds of dog bites during the recent years.
To control the canine population in the city, the Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) has taken the process of sterilization, but people said that it was a long process and there should be some short-term plan by the SMC to stop the cases of dog bites.
“Sterilization is a long time process. The government is not serious in solving this grave issue. Something needs to be done timely to check the menace,” said Habib-ullah, a resident of Srinagar.
“Stray canines can be seen roaming on streets, chasing cars, pulling down bicycle riders and often attacking pedestrians and schoolchildren,” a report in KNS said.
KNS is a Srinagar based news agency.
The situation is worse in the outskirts where the municipal corporation is not that active is checking the menace. The peripheral hospitals of Directorate of Health Services Kashmir receive thousands of cases of dog bites every year, sources said.
According to experts, the reason behind the ferocity of the dogs is the high-protein food which is available regularly because of the dietary habits of residents of Kashmir, where mutton and chicken are a staple diet.
“We fear that the dog population if kept unchecked could trigger fear psychosis among people. The dog issue needs to be dealt with seriously or else by four years dogs may outnumber Srinagarites and they will victimize every one of us,” he said.
Despite repeated attempts, the SMC officials couldn’t be contacted.
(With inputs from KNS)