The population of stray dogs is increasing in Srinagar city. There is no permanent solution to this problem as of now. This problem is not something new.
It is there for many decades. However, with the passage of time the problem is taking a serious turn. The attacks by stray dogs on residents are also increasing.
This is evident from the rise in dog bite cases. The problem is not only restricted to Srinagar city, but is prevailing in towns and rural areas also. In Srinagar despite a strong demand by people to bring the increasing dog population under control and prevent dog attacks, nothing concrete is being done. Subsequently, the residents, particularly the children and the elderly persons, are being targeted by the packs of dogs.
The problem becomes worse after sunset. Because of the power crisis the streets are dark most of the time and it becomes difficult for the pedestrians to move out. They fear dog attacks. A decade back the authorities had poisoned dozens of dogs in Srinagar city.
This evoked strong criticism from animal rights activists, who said poisoning the dogs is a cruel act. They favoured other means to control the population of dogs. Then the sterilisation of dogs was taken up. Since it is being done on a limited scale, it is not having the desired results.
The sterilisation of dogs must be done extensively to have some impact. Reports said the sterilisation of dogs has been stopped now in view of the winter since this is not being done in such a temperature. Subsequently, the two sterilisation centres at Shuhama and Tengpora have been closed, reports add.
After winters, the sterilisation must be resumed on a large scale. Officials say that a section among the residents is also responsible for the stray dog problem in their areas. The residents throw the left over food outside their houses and thus attract dogs. Presence of dogs in the residential areas gives rise to wild animal attacks also.
During winters the leopards are in search of food and dogs are easy prey for such wild animals.
In search of dogs, leopards enter the residential areas. Their presence sometimes leads to man-wildlife conflict also. Several persons have been killed or injured in such incidents.
Presence of leopards also creates panic in the areas. Solving the problem of stray dogs is a collective responsibility of the concerned authorities and the residents. This problem must not unnecessarily linger on and needs a permanent solution.