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Yelahanka dogged by stray menace

On an average, 20 cases of dog bites are reported every day

THE dog menace has turned out to be a daily nightmare for residents of Yelahanka. Records at the Yelahanka General Hospital show that anti-rabies vaccines were administered to 3,349 patients, of whom 1,165 were children, in the past seven months. In the month of January alone, vaccine was administered to as many as 500 people.
The issue of dog menace assumes importance following the dog bite incidents at Bagalur and Yelahanka recently. An 18-month-old boy was mauled to death by dogs in Bagalur. 

Dr V M Reddy, administrative medical officer at the hospital, said he received as many as 10 cases every day.

20 cases per day
If patients treated by doctors elsewhere in Yelahanka are taken into account, every day an average of 20 dog bite cases are reported. In October 2010, 479 adults and 275 children were treated for dog bites. By noon on January 25, this year, 14 people were treated for injuries related to dog bites.  
While a majority of the patients were bitten by stray canines, others were hurt by pet dogs. Yelahanka has a population of 1.89 lakh, including people in areas that fall outside the BBMP jurisdiction.

“We receive cases from both the primary health centres and surrounding areas,” said a staff at the Yelahanka General Hospital. Many families hailing from below poverty line came for vaccination in the past five months, due to increased awareness about the treatment, he said.

Outdated figures

The population of both stray and pet dogs in Yelahanka is yet to be ascertained. The figures of stray dogs with the BBMP is outdated. 

“We have figures of the dog population falling within the BBMP jurisdiction for 2007. The dogs would have definitely multiplied since then,” said a BBMP officer.

According to 2007 figures, there were 25,377 stray dogs and 15,841 pet dogs in Byatarayanpura and Yelahanka Assembly constituencies. Under the Animal Birth Control (ABC) programme, the BBMP has sterilised 13,006 dogs in 2009-10, leaving at least three-fourth of the stray dog population without protection from the rabies virus. Apart from this, there is no count of dogs outside the BBMP jurisdiction. 

“Moreover, we don’t have any control over the panchayats where the dog population remains unchecked,” said the Palike officer.

Vinay Moray of Vets For Animals organisation, which is looking after the dog sterilisation programme in Yelahanka said he would have to check whether the cases were from the BBMP area of Yelahanka or from outside. 

“Although, the previous NGO had sterilised nearly 4,000 strays, it will take us nearly a year to control the stray population in the area,” he said.

The NGO, which started work in the area on December 11, last  year, sterilises about 40 dogs every day and also administers anti-rabies vaccine to dogs,” he said.

No of cases

Month             Adult    Children

July, 2010       231       141
August           270        176
September     248        121
October          47          275
November      356        65
December       293       195
Jan 2011        307       192

(Published in Deccan Herald on 31st January, 2011 along with Sandeep Moudgal)

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