NEW DELHI: More than 92,000 streets dogs have been sterilized and vaccinated in first of its kind National Rabies Control Program in the Hisar Division of Haryana, a northern Indian state.
The programme was carried out by the Humane Society International with the support of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the Animal Welfare Board of India and the Haryana State Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying.
The project is in sync with Supreme Court orders issued in 2015 and 2016 directed at states and local bodies to tackle dog population through humane animal birth control protocols. These orders came after repeated reports of dog culling and dog abuse across India.
“In just one year, our dog management program in Hisar has demonstrated that large scale sterilization and vaccination projects are possible,” explained Rahul Sehgal, director of HIS, Asia.
“With almost daily reports of animal abuse in India, we hope this program shows communities that many issues involving street dogs can be resolved with effective dog population management,” added Sehgal
Some of the challenges the program initially faced included identifying appropriate space, facilities and infrastructure, identifying and training personnel in the lesser known vocation of animal welfare and convincing locals to agree to the surgical procedure for community dogs, informed HIS officials.
Officials said more than 90 percent of dogs in this program are caught by hand, reducing the stress and trauma caused by net or tong catching. Using GPS technology, the dogs are returned to the exact location where they were caught.
The HIS now plans to sterilize an additional 50,000 dogs and vaccinate another 180,000 in Jind and Bhiwani districts of Haryana.