Lack of coordination between the stray dog cell of the PMC and the agencies that have been awarded a contract to sterilise the canines is resulting in a spurt in dog bite cases.
The problem was highlighted yet again when two cases of attacks on people by strays were reported from Deccan Gymkhana recently. In one of the cases, a 70-year-old woman from Bharti Nivas Society had to be hospitalised after a stray dog attacked her. Residents as well as the agencies awarded the contract to sterilise strays blame the PMC for the state of affairs. While residents say the PMC is just sitting on their complaints, the agencies claim that they are waiting for the PMC to issue them the work order.
Sunita Karmarkar, the 70-year-old who is admitted to hospital, required surgery as she developed an infection after a dog bit her on August 7. “The PMC is ignoring the stray dog menace, and herds of strays are roaming freely, terrorising residents,” she said. BJP corporator Madhuri Sahasrabuddhe agreed with Karmarkar that the stray population had increased to a level that people now lived in constant fear of dog attacks. “The number of dogs has gone up in the past months,” she said. “I had personally called up Chief Medical Officer S T Pardeshi, but despite my appeals nothing was done.” She claimed that on several occasions she had called the stray dog cell but officials attached to the cell were not giving the problem the attention it deserved. “As a result, two residents from my ward have been attacked by stray dogs,” she said.
Sushma Date, another resident and member of the Deccan Gymkhana Parisar Samiti, said the agencies supposed to sterilise strays were also not doing their job and were pointing to “When we contacted an agency awarded the contract for catching, sterilising and releasing dogs, it pointed us to the PMC. When we contact the PMC’s stray dog cell, we rarely get a response,” Date said.
Dr Anjali Sabane of the stray dog cell claimed officers attached to the cell addressed all complaints promptly. “We have not received Sahsrabuddhe’s call earlier,” she said. “When we did receive a call, we immediately flung into action and trapped five strays from the (Deccan) area.” Deputy Health Officer Dr Sabne said two agencies, namely Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and Animal Rights Fund (ARF), were currently active and claimed there was no problem of coordination. Dr B B Nagare of the ARF claimed the agency acted only on those complaints that were routed through the PMC.