The rising number of stray dogs in the federal capital streets has become a constant nuisance for its citizens. The apex court has imposed a ban on dog shooting and asked the Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB) to formulate a comprehensive policy to control their population in a humane manner.
The gradual increase in the number of stray and feral dogs poses a serious threat to the residents.
"The dogs are roaming freely on the roads and green belts of the federal capital and scaring off the pedestrians and motorists and chasing them in herds," Umer Khan, a resident of Sector G-13, said.
"Since the hospitals are already facing a shortage of rabies vaccine, there is a need to take corrective measures for the safety of the people," he asserted.
He said the children and women were more vulnerable in present circumstances as there was less public movement in the streets due to mobility restrictions imposed by the government in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Shrafat Khan, who spoke with APP during his evening walk on a green belt in Sector G-6, said the growing population of dogs had become a major problem for the citizens of Islamabad. "I and my wife skip the evening walk when we see a herd of dogs barking on green belts," he regretted.
When contacted, Capital Development Authority (CDA) Director-General Sanitation Sarwar Sandhu said: "We cannot take any action against stray dogs as our hands are bound after the apex court has empowered the IWMB to formulate a policy in this regard."
Unaware of the finalisation of the policy by the IWMB, he added: "At the moment, it is not our responsibility. We will only be participating once the policy comes out."
According to an IWMB official, a dog population control programme has been recommended in its policy aimed at reducing their growth in the Islamabad Capital Territory without causing unnecessary and avoidable suffering.
The programme suggested castration of dogs, the establishment of dedicated sanctuaries and other measures with the help of relevant government and non-governmental organisations, he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 5th, 2021.