Stray dogs rein terror in Shimla
SHIMLA: Tourist town of Shmla is grappling with the problem of stray dog menace. With roads and parks becoming shelter homes for stray dogs residents and tourists are wondering whether Shimla could be made free of the problem. While shortage of dog pounds and shelter homes are being cited as reason for the problem, authorities are expressing their helplessness citing pending case before Supreme Court.
Himachal Pradesh High Court had recently directed the state government to roads across the state free from stray cattle by December 31 this year, while an earlier order of high court to find solution to the stray dogs’ problem is yet to be implemented in letter and spirit in Shimla. Around 3500-4000 stray dogs are in Shimla.
In September 2009, a Division Bench of high court had said that Municipal Corporation was duty bound to get rid of the stray dog menace and it is the statutory duty of the corporation to provide animal kennels and shelters. Last year court had asked the Municipal Corporation to make city free from stray dogs menace within three months but now officials are claiming that as case is pending before the Supreme Court they are helpless.
Around 4-5 dog bite cases are being reported in Shimla on daily basis. Sources said that over 1000 dog bite cases are reported in Shimla for last few years. In localities like the Mall Road, the Ridge, Jakhu, Tutikandi, Summer Hill, Tutu, Boileauganj, Chhotta Shimla, Sanjauli and Khalini, it is common for free-roaming dogs to bark at commuters in a scary manner.
Not only the local residents but even the tourists get scared seeing dogs moving in the groups on busy roads. Residents of Shimla town are now questioning the intent of Municipal Corporation in making city free of stray dogs.
“When entire state can be made free of stray cattle by December 31 then why not the stray dogs problem too could be dealt in the same fashion. Population of dogs have increased manifold in the city creating terror in the minds of commuters,” said Surinder Thakur a local resident. He said that Shimla being tourist town, Municipal authorities should devise a system to shift the stray dogs to safe shelters.
In 2006, the corporation had set up a stray dog birth control society. Till March 2011, over 5,800 dogs, almost 80 percent of their total population, were sterilised. But after that sterlisation programme remained suspended for over two years and has again been started from June this year, said official sources.
Shimla Municipal Corporation Nodal Officer of sterlisation programme Dr Arun Sirkeck said that stray dog problem is continuing as case is pending before the Supreme Court. “Following direction from high court to solve the problem some people and organization have approached Supreme Court where matter is pending now,” he added.
Civic body authorities claim that after two years Shimla would be free of stray dog problem if the sterlisation programme carried effectively not only in the urban area but also in the adjoining rural areas from where stray dogs are flocking Shimla town in search of food.