The South Delhi civic body has prepared a detailed plan to vaccinate and put collars on the stray dogs to meet their ambitious target of making Delhi rabies-free in the next 5 years.
Dr Ravindra Sharma, the director of veterinary services in South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC), said that every dog that is administered anti-rabies vaccine will be issued a multi-colour collar to signify its immunisation status. “As per our calculations, each collar will cost around Rs22 which is not much compared with anti-rabies treatment costs. Moreover, these collars glow in the dark so the safety levels against stray dogs will also increase,” Dr Sharma informed.
The colour coding of collars will be important in identifying colony, ward, zone and Delhi municipal corporations after mass anti-rabies campaign. So far, seven animal bite-related deaths have been reported this financial year, The Times of India reported.
Dr Sharma further stated that around 60,000 people die every year, across the world, due to rabies and 36% of these deaths are recorded in India alone. “We have sterilised around 19,000 stray dogs this year so far,” he added.
However, municipalities have acute shortage of anti-rabies vials. While on average, 21,000 anti-rabies vials are required every year, only 2,000-3,000 vials were available this year. In fact several attempts to procure anti-rabies vials from private markets also failed to materialise. “The government manufacturer is not supplying the vaccine from the last few months due to non-availability. Patients are either being told to purchase it privately or being referred to other hospitals,” he said.
No civic body has conducted a dog census in the past ten years in Delhi. So there is no estimate as to how many stray dogs roam around on the city’s streets. “The last pan-Delhi survey was conducted by erstwhile united MCD in 2009 in which the number of stray dogs in capital was found to be over 5.6 lakh. The number must have increased,” an official from the East Corporation said. As per the survey conducted by NGO Humane Society International last year, South Delhi alone has over 1.89 lakh strays.