The population of stray dogs in the cities of Sindh is increasing by the day. In few localities of Karachi, there are more stray dogs than people. But the authorities seem to be unaware of the dangers that stray dogs pose to human life. So far they have taken only half-hearted actions to curb the growing population of dogs. This is despite the fact that last year more than 186,579 people were attacked by stray dogs in Sindh province. According to hospitals in Karachi, more than 70 people, mostly children, are bitten by stray dogs in the city every day.
In November last year, the Sindh local government department had launched a campaign to control the dog population by neutering the animals but things have not gone much beyond photo-ops. It was announced that around 500,000 stray dogs would be sterilised in the province. Now there are reports that the campaign has not made headway due to financial constraints and lack of expertise and human resources to handle the sterilisation procedure. Experts are, however, of the opinion that there is no need for a surgical procedure to neuter dogs and the whole process can be carried out only through an injection.
As for funds, Haleem Adil Shaikh, the parliamentary party leader of the PTI in the Sindh Assembly, says the local government department had allocated Rs1 billion for the dog sterilisation programme. He claimed the PTI had raised the issue of stray dogs in the assembly several times but the government was taking only ad hoc measures to control the dog population. He expressed fears that the funds might be bungled. On the other hand, a KMC official claims the poison being given to dogs is substandard, and it not only increases their agony it made them more violent before death. So the promise made in November is yet to translate into action. Governments give us much by way of promises.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 27th, 2020.
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