Bangalore, India – The death of a 10-year-old girl, crushed by a concrete-mixer truck while running away from a stray, attacking dog, has caused the Bangalore civic body (BBMP) animal husbandry department to lash out at animal lovers for the growing number of such tragic events in India’s third most populous city.
Parents of the child are reportedly both construction workers from Bellary. They stated their daughter was buying groceries when the stray attacked.
According to MidDay.com, the girl started running to avoid being bitten and she failed to notice the large vehicle approaching from the opposite direction. The speeding truck knocked her down and ran over her, resulting in instant death. Police reported that the truck driver abandoned the vehicle and fled the scene fearing the anger of the public that witnessed the accident. http://www.mid-day.com/news/2011/jul/040711-news-bangalore-Animal-lovers-stray-dog-menace-BBMP.htm
This incident, reported on July 4, 2011, was the latest in a series that has caused increasing public anxiety and criticism of the department’s handling of the growing stray/feral dog population in the city. Just three days before, a two-year old was mauled to death, while a four-year-old, victimized in the same attack, survived.
In January 2011, NDTV reported, “ Stray dogs ripped apart a baby at a brick construction site in Bagalur. The child was found dead and mutilated --the dogs tore away portions of his arm and leg.” One of the dogs was reported to be the pet of the site supervisor. http://www.ndtv.com/article/cities/baby-mauled-to-death-by-stray-dogs-in-bangalore-79032&cp
Dr. Parvez Ahmed Peeran, Joint Director of the department, stated that approximately 70,000 street dogs have been sterilized and over 1.16 million have been vaccinated. “However, we still have not achieved the desired results.”
He claims that animal activists stage protests and interfere when vehicles are sent out to catch the dogs in areas where there are complaints. The trucks are often forced to leave, and the city’s efforts to sterilize and cull strays is being delayed and endangering public safety.
India’s growing street-dog problem
After 20,000 dog-bite reports in 2010-2011, including those by owned pets, the Supreme Court ordered implementation of a program to begin several animal birth control measures, according to MidDay.com. Programs already in place to provide rabies vaccinations have had a positive effect because there were twenty reported deaths due to rabid dog bites in the 2000-02 survey and only one reported in 2010.
Dr. Peeran announced that the animal husbandry department will extend the pet-overpopulation effort with the goal of sterilizing 1 million dogs, but in order to do so, animal lovers must cooperate, stop obstructing, and allow the trucks to pick up animals which are injured, ill or pose a danger to themselves and humans. “We want to cull habitual biters, chasers, ferocious and incurably diseased dogs...," he added.
Animal lovers have condemned the BBMP for blaming them. Followers of what appears to be the equivalent of the American “no kill” movement, have come together in protest, suggesting that the BBMP invest in massive housing of the animals, instead of in “dead initiatives.”
One animal lover who keeps 40 strays on a quarter acre of land said, "The idea of culling stray dogs is immature. How will the BBMP identify rabid dogs amongst 2 lakh [million] strays in the city? They should instead allot land in different zones where these dogs can be housed."
Can spay/neuter programs be effective with these odds?
Dr. Paaren stated "We have spent Rs 3.42 crore [approximately $750,000]…it is impossible to get results on the Animal Birth Control program in just 6-12 months.”
Dr. Paaren’s assessment is accurate according to an article entitled, “Pet Overpopulation and the 70% Rule” by Dr. W. Marvin Mackie, renowned spay/neuter specialist (www.QuickSpay.com.
Dr. Mackie explains, “Louis Pasteur, while working on an early vaccine for disease prevention, used the model to predict that 70% of a susceptible population would have to be vaccinated in order to prevent an epidemic of almost any contagious disease.
“It is not a great leap to advance to the notion that pet sterilization is in effect ‘vaccinating’ against the disease of overpopulation…The outcome at this 70% sterilization level is that the transmission odds (successful breeding encounters) of the remaining 30% are reduced to the point that births then occur at a rate only great enough to replace normal attrition.”
He quotes Editor Merritt Clifton in an Animal People, October 2002, article stating emphatically that you must reach 70% or FLUNK – there is no progress made with a “B” or “C” grade. “Fall short of 70%… and a sterilization…project will get a big “F” for fecund animals, fearful people fleeing dog packs, feline feces in gardens and children’s sandboxes and frothing-at-the-mouth critics flinging allegations of fraud.” http://www.animalpeoplenews.org/
On January 13, 2011, NDTV reported, “According to a court directive, BBMP is not allowed to kill the dogs, though it's allowed to sterilize the dogs and release them in the areas they were caught from.” At that time, Dr. G Parameshwar stated, "We are doing our best to control the dog population, but to no avail."