Steps needed to control dogs in DNCC, DSCC
Dhaka North City Corporation ( DNCC) and Dhaka South City Corporation ( DSCC) have taken no visibly effective measures to control the urban dog population, and this has led to city residents treating neighbourhood dogs in a cruel, violent and inhumane manner.
The High Court banned dog culling in 2020 on grounds of animal rights. Meanwhile, experts and animal-rights activists believe sterilisation is the appropriate measure to control the dog population.
However, due to the lack of human resources, budget and planning, neither DNCC nor DSCC are unable to discharge their duties in this regard.
According to Dhaka Infectious Disease Hospital, 45,477 people were treated for dog bite-related injuries in 2020, while the number rose to 52,012 in 2021.
So far, around 38,000 people have received treatment from the hospital with similar injuries this year.
Compared to these numbers, vaccination drives have proven to be insufficient.
Communicable Disease Control (CDC) of DGHS stated that 42,935 dogs were vaccinated in areas under the two city corporations in 2019. As part of rabies eradication measures, 49,580 dogs were vaccinated in 2020.
However, the drives stopped after one year and nine months.
"There has been no activity for a year. Councillors have no opportunity to take any action in this regard. People in my area have killed three dogs in the last two weeks,'' said Saidul Islam, councillor of ward-57 under DSCC.
Rubaiya Ahmed, Chairperson of Obhoyaronno, said DNCC has provided some support to their operations, while DSCC has remained inactive since 2014.
In 2020, after a petition was filed to stop transferring dogs from their territories, DSCC promised to implement a neutering and vaccination programme for neighbourhood dogs, Rubaiya said.
"However, they continue to cull and relocate dogs at any given chance. They do not have any sustainable plan in this regard," she added.
Rakibul Haq Emil, founder and chairperson of People for Animal Welfare (PAW) Foundation, said sterilisation operations are crucial from the July-to-September period, the peak season for dog breeding.
"However, no such activities have been in place. People continue to grow more hostile to their neighbourhood dogs," said Emil.
"Our organisation receives four to five reports of dog culling every month. The two city corporations cannot avoid their responsibility in this regard," he added.
DNCC Public Health Officer Lutfar Rahman said there is no workforce or logistical support for controlling the dog population.
"In the current economic situation, there is not enough budget for this work. Efforts are being made with limited workforce. A lack of awareness leads to people killing dogs,'' he said.
DSCC Chief Health Officer Dr Fazle Shamsul Karim echoed the same. He said five veterinary doctors have joined DSCC's health department recently.
Dr M Mujibur Rahaman, DGHS expert of mass dog vaccination programme, said due to excessive pollution in Dhaka city, lack of adequate waste management, and overcrowding, most dogs have some sort of sickness.
"Bites and other untoward incidents are reduced when dogs are healthy and in controlled numbers," he said.
"Coordination between the two city corporation authorities is required to conduct neutering programmes," he added.
DNCC has been running such programmes for 10 years despite the lack of human resources. However, DSCC has not shown much zeal, he added.