Residents in Noida are complaining of increasing dog attacks after pictures of people, who sustained injuries due to dog bites, went viral online over the past two weeks, and are demanding that specific spots be designated for feeding stray animals. Other residents, however, said that societies are reluctant to ask organizations that are experts in handling dogs for help.
Residents alleged that feeding stray dogs at random locations has made them more aggressive and led to an increase in dog attacks within sectors and societies. They also said that the lack of routine sterilization is resulting in an uncontrolled increase in stray dog population every year.
Pratibha Salaria, a resident of Noida Sector 77, said she was attacked by a stray dog that was fed by some people in her society in January. “I had stepped out for a walk in my society with a friend when I was attacked. Usually, if the wound is less than 3cm deep, one has to take five injections but since my wound was deeper, I had to take a total of 25 injections. I had done nothing to provoke the dog, but it probably felt threatened.”
Several residents, however, said that residents’ welfare associations (RWA), are reluctant to ask organizations that can handle dogs expertly for help. According to animal welfare groups, the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) has issued feeding guidelines keeping a certain infrastructure layout in mind, which have to be tweaked time and again for implementation.
“Feeding spots can be decided keeping in mind the layout of the society/ condominium as well as the territories of the dogs in question. At no point should the guidelines be used to prevent the welfare of the animals or harass compassionate citizens or even those who don’t like street animals. The RWAs must write to the AWBI for assistance in designating these points, and actively start working in collaboration with professional canine behaviorists as well as local animal welfare organizations for sensitization of residents of all age groups,” said Chetna Joshi, AWBI-nominated member to the Municipal Corporation Monitoring and Implementation Committee (MCMIC), Haryana.
District health officials said over 20 cases of dog bites are reported in the city daily. At least 10 dog bite cases are reported at the district hospital while several more are reported at private hospitals across the district everyday, they said.
Meanwhile, Noida authority’s sterilization drive is still erratic as no vendor has been finalized yet, despite the tender for the project being floated at least seven times. Authority officials said that a private organization is currently sterilizing dogs on request.
“The sterilization is being done by a previously hired organization till we get a new vendor. Meanwhile, we note complaints from all areas to sterilize the dogs there. In case of any instance where a dog has asked people more than once, residents can contact the sterilization helpline or the project engineer of the area. We will immediately pick up the dog and keep it under observation for 15 days at our animal shelter,” said Indu Prakash, officer on special duty, Noida authority.