Vets shifted, worry over dog menace

Bhubaneswar: A government decision to call back the experienced veterinarians functioning under Animal Birth Control (ABC) programme in the capital could weaken the ABC unit here and increase the stray dog menace in the city, it is feared.
The four veterinary surgeons working in the ABC unit have been directed to return to their original place of posting by Monday. A veterinarian working with the animal helpline has also been directed to get back to his original place of work.
Apart from animal birth control surgeries, the ABC centre has sterilized and vaccinated (anti-rabies injections) around 19,000 stray dogs in the city in recent times. The unit that started in 2008 has played a commendable role in preventing the spread of rabies and controlling stray dog population in the capital.
“But the sudden and wholesome transfers from the ABC centre might harm the good image of the facility,” felt honorary wildlife warden of Khurda district, Sanjib Kumar Das. He has raised his concern in a letter addressed to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and some top officials.
Dog pound fro keeping dogs before surgery“ABC surgery is conducted by trained surgeons of the veterinary department. If these veterinarians are transferred, the ABC unit will find itself handicapped during the breeding season (June- December) for dogs. This would doubtless increase the stray dog population while the chances of spread of rabies in the city are more,” Das contended.
Top official of the Fisheries and Animal Resources Development Department did not want to comment on the transfers, other than saying that the ABC unit will not face any crisis. Replacements will be in place. “We will ensure that the unit is having enough veterinarians and there is no cause for worry,” said a top official of the department. However, some senior staff working with unit too have shared the warden’s concern over the transfer of officials from the centre.
“On an average, we sterilize around 300 dogs a month. The unit can accommodate 120 dogs. Normally, after the surgery, we will keep the dogs under observation for five days. If the unit faces a staff crunch, we will not be able to sterilize this many dogs and it will increase the stray dog menace in the city,” said a veterinarian working with the unit.
BMC additional commissioner Alok Kar has said the corporation is ready to offer the necessary support to the unit and the issue has to be handled by the fisheries and animal resources development department.
“We are ready to give them financial support. The issue of staff crunch has to be handled by the fisheries and animal resources development department,” said Kar.
According to sources, the BMC had provided 20 staff and two vehicles for this unit. The government constructed a dog pound at an estimated cost of `25 lakh there. So if the unit is made dysfunctional, it would mean wastage of public money and a crisis in the form of a spurt in street dog menace to the citizenry.

Jose K Joseph, OP

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