Kerala government meeting discusses stray dogs’ menace

Thiruvananthapuram, July 14 (IANS) Faced with the menace of stray dogs and dog bite cases in Kerala, the state government held a meeting on Tuesday to discuss the problem and find ways to overcome it.

More than one lakh people have been bitten by dogs in 2014-15, a state minister said.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy chaired the meeting, attended by four of his cabinet colleagues, top officials from the animal husbandry department, district administrators and heads of local bodies.

An all-party meeting on the issue was held last week, which came out with broad guidelines to tackle the stray dogs in the state.

After hearing the complaints of people’s representatives from the grassroots level, Chandy assured that steps would be taken to curb the menace.

“The law is very clear that dangerous dogs can be culled. But culling alone is not the only way. Hence, we will work out a multi-pronged strategy, including sterilisation of stray dogs at special camps and opening of 50 new centres to handle animal birth control measures,” the chief minister said.

In 2014-15, around 1.06 lakh people in Kerala were bitten by dogs and it had become one of the worst problems people’s representatives at various levels were facing, Urban Affairs Minister M. Ali said.

The animal husbandry department officials assured that 50 new centres with adequate veterinarians and support staff would be opened immediately for spaying/neutering the strays.

“Local bodies will be sanctioned funds for this programme with immediate effect. The animal husbandry department will ensure that the number of sterilisation centres are increased to 500 in the future,” said Panchayats and Social Justice Minister M.K. Muneer.

Programmes/models drawn up in Kottayam, Kollam and Ernakulam districts to control stray dogs also came up for discussion at the meeting.

Chandy said the remaining 11 districts in Kerala were free to adopt any of the successful models implemented by these three districts to control the number of strays.

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