Solutions for Stray Dogs
The catching process
All dogs are kept in holding nets in the van and taken to the Pound to be sterilized and returned to the original spot
Vaccinating a dog
DGPS team with the dog van
It’s been exactly three years since DGPS members took up the problem of stray dogs in the area. We researched the problem and understood from the WHO that the only way to control the population of stray dogs in a country like ours was through an effective sterilisation-adoption-vaccination programme.
Contrary to public perception, the stray dog problem has not been created by dog lovers/animal activists. In developing countries like India, the stray population has proliferated without check due to two major factors a) slum dwellers who keep free roaming pets which mate with strays b) large amounts of wet waste lying on the roads.
Given the laxity in the PMC administration in stray dog population control, the targets to cover were daunting. Work began in small steps, with a census of dogs to begin with, and soon the team managing the programme grew to more than two dozen dedicated volunteers and spread to adjoining Prabhaags.
Sterilisations are done privately as well as with the PMC teams, but there is strict monitoring and record keeping now on the drives. More than 90 percent of the dogs in Prabhaag 36 have notched ears (indicating their neutered status) – and we have seen a dramatic decrease in new litters this last year.
The team has prepared a note to spread awareness about the correct solution, for the PMC dog catchers to distribute during the drives – Stray Dogs Marathi
Over the past three years, the DGPS dog team has completed the following:
- Sterilized 560 + dogs since Oct 2012
- Conducted lane by lane surveys to identify packs which need to be neutered.
- Accompanied PMC dog catchers on drives where 10 – 15 dogs are caught at one session and sent to the Pound for surgery. At least 3 or 4 such drives are conducted by us each week.
- Identified friendly dogs (in some cases, fed the dogs for a week or so to make them friendly) which were then taken in cars, autos or two wheelers to Blue Cross Hosp in Mundwa or to certain vets who do these surgeries at concessional rates. Post op care is given by volunteers.
- Vaccinated more than 150 dogs every year (only the friendly ones can be vaccinated – which is why stray dogs need to be socialised by regular feeding)
- Conducted sterilization and vaccination drives in college campuses – SNDT, FTII, Law College, Agarkar and Gokhale Inst, Fergusson College, BMCC and IMDR.
- Conducted sterilization drives in vastis like Gokhalenagar, Janwadi, Bhalekar and Khilare vasti, (In Janwadi for eg, more than 80 dogs were sterilized in 5 days)
- Conducted adoption camps every month in different parts of Pune, where stray puppies and kittens are brought and put up for adoption. This keeps them off the roads and lessens the “menace”. Between 10 to 30 puppies are adopted out every month.
- Lobbied PMC to regulate activities at the Pound – to make the catching, surgery and release process more humane, to make the dog handlers keep the place clean, to improve record keeping in the OT, to put in place a more accountable system of organ counting ( previously, records were fudged )
- Conducted workshops for dog catchers on humane methods of catching, proper SOPs and record keeping
- Lobbied members of Standing committee, Health Dept, Addl Commissioner and Municipal Commissioner for more funding for the Animal Birth Control program (ABC). Currently only 10,000 dogs are neutered every year which is nowhere near what is needed for an effective program.
- Lobbied the Municipal Commissioner and Animal welfare Board (AWBI) in Delhi to decrease the long gaps between expiry of old contracts for sterilization and giving the work order for new contracts.
- Lobbied for more Pounds in Pune. Currently only three centers are doing sterilization surgery – but a new one is being built in Baner.
- Intense lobbying for an animal incinerator for Pune (it has been installed but isn’t functional yet due to some issues about MPCB permission)
- Lobbied for a ban on the horrible ‘holding room’ at the Pound, where dogs used to get mixed up and then randomly released anywhere in the city (creating problems for citizens)