Rising canine threat

Kashmir Magazine

The rising canine threat has terrorized the atmosphere in our valley. With each passing day the number of dog bitten cases is being reported unabated. Figures reveal that around 80,000 persons have been bitten by dogs since 2013 in Kashmir. Official figures reveal that 5000 to 7000 dog bite cases are reported annually at Srinagar’s SMHS hospital. Around 6802, 6399, 6984 and 4697 dog bite cases were reported during 2017-2018, 2018-2019, 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 respectively.
In the last one year, from 1st April 2021 to 31st March 2022, a total of 5,629 dog bite cases were reported at Srinagar’s Shri Maharaja Hari Singh (SMHS) hospital. In the last one decade, 58,869 persons were bitten by dogs, as per a report by the Department of Community Medicine, Government Medical College (GMC) Srinagar.
Srinagar city is the worst hit. Between April 2019 and February 2020, 3,975 out of the 6,319 cases of dog bites took place in Srinagar, shows the data for eleven months. In the last five years, 30,000 dog bite cases have been reported at Shri Maharaja Hari Singh Hospital (SMHS) alone, of which 2,800 cases were reported in Srinagar only.
There are myriad reasons as to why the dog population in Kashmir continues to spiral. The ubiquitous mounds of garbage and poultry waste on roads being two major reasons of rise in dog population and their terror.
The number of dogs is increasing by the day. Dogs freely roam on streets, markets, lanes and now even enter shops. In recent past a minor boy lost his life after chased by dogs in Batamaloo area. There are many instances where young and old lost their precious lives due to this ending menace.
Various municipal corporations of Kashmir, especially Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC), seem miserably failed to take effective measures to curb this menace. There is a need to take sincere measures to contain this threat. Effective measures like management of garbage, sterilization and vaccination need to be done effectively. Mere claims won’t work, rather tangible measures are inevitable to deal with the crisis.
The authorities must take the matter seriously and frame a comprehensive policy for limiting the growing dog population. Sooner it will be taken up, the larger benefits it will provide to the society.