Lucknow: The country’s first animal birth control centre has been set up in Lucknow and more such facilities will be built across the state soon.
Animal Birth Control centres are intended to be dedicated facilities where stray dogs and cats will be brought for sterilisation, and dropped back to the localities they were picked up from.
In these centres, trained para veterinarians will conduct sterilisation and provide aftercare to the strays. This process was so far being undertaken by the Lucknow Municipal Corporation at temporary centres.
In this context, the ‘Dog Matters’ seminar, held by the urban development department on Thursday evening, discussed the Animal Birth Control (ABC) project in view of the raging debate over dog bite cases in the city.
Speakers stressed that animals’ aggression towards humans is a responsive action to the aggression meted out to them by humans themselves. Another major reason for dogs straying into residential areas is dumping and littering of food waste on the streets, said experts.
Animal rights activists, veterinarians, and several district administration officials were present at this convention to discuss the importance of the ABC project taken up in Lucknow, and the importance of a healthy coexistence of man and animals in society. ABC committees will be formed at the central, state, and district levels.
Principal secretary, urban development department, Amrit Abhijat, and representatives from organisations like People for Animals, Humane Society International, Mercy for Animals, and others were also present at the seminar.
According to Gauri Maulekhi, a trustee at People for Animals, “If we remove dogs from the area, their place will be taken up by some other animal – rats for instance. This is how nature balances itself — it is not possible for any area to be entirely sans animal life.”
The ABC project guidelines, therefore, suggest community feeding of dogs in any area, which builds a relationship between the strays and humans while also ensuring that the animals do not fight over dumped food.
It was also informed that a training centre will be opened in Lucknow by the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) in a few months to train individuals to sterilise and vaccinate street dogs.
The new amendments to the ABC project made this year also includes the sterilisation of street cats. Moreover, if independent agencies are conducting sterilisation drives for street dogs and cats, they must submit a monthly report to the local ABC body of the number of strays treated.
Maulekhi also stressed that the ABC project is already bearing fruit in the city, and can be a model for other states to adopt as well. She pointed out that puppy sightings have gone down, and soon the incidence of rabies will diminish as well. It is difficult to make a dent in the number of dogs in any society because “dogs give birth to at least two litters per year, with 8-9 pups each time which amounts to nearly 100 puppies in a healthy dog’s lifetime,” said Dr Bandhanpreet Kaur of PETA.
“Children are taught to throw stones at dogs or beat them with sticks when they see strays coming near their homes. These actions make them aggressive towards humans in turn. No child or puppy is born aggressive,” added Kaur.
Rajendra Pensiya, special secretary of urban development, noted that the ABC project has been a great success.
Meanwhile, Inderjit Singh, municipal commissioner, pointed out, “Almost 55,000 dogs have already been sterilised in Lucknow.”