KOCHI: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Friday said that the menace of stray dogs cannot be solved by killing the dogs and added that to overcome the issue a scientific solution must be sought. "Stray dog problem cannot be solved by killing the dogs. To overcome this problem, the scientific solution implemented by the government needs the support of the general public. We need to work together to solve this crisis," CM Vijayan said.
"The government is implementing planned solutions for it. It is important to remember that beating, poisoning and tying up dogs on the streets will not solve this problem. Indulging in such acts is unacceptable. Similarly, people should take care to protect domestic dogs and not leave them on the streets," he added. CM also highlighted that there have been 21 deaths due to rabies in the state so far this year out of which 15 did not receive anti-rabies vaccine (IDRV) and immunoglobulin (ERIG), one was partially vaccinated and five were fully vaccinated.
He stressed that the registration of pet dogs will be made mandatory in the state and applications related to the registration of pet dogs in the gram panchayat area can be submitted through ILGMS portal. "Panchayat will provide registration certificate within three days after completion of vaccination. A metal token/collar is required to be fitted to registered dogs at the owner's responsibility. Rabies vaccination for stray dogs will start on September 20. This measure will be accomplished by identifying areas where 10 or more dog bite incidents have occurred in a month as hotspots."
The intensive vaccination drive has been officially decided on the issue of stray dogs from September 20 but the CM said that the vaccination drive has already started in most of the local government bodies in the state. "A field-level investigation has been completed to ascertain the cause of all 21 deaths and an expert committee was appointed to investigate all the deaths in detail, he noted while speaking on the prevalent issue."
According to Kerala Medical Services Corporation, there has been a 57 pc increase in the use of the anti-rabies vaccine in 2021-2022 as compared to 2016-2017 and the use of rabies Immunoglobulin has increased by 109 pc during this period, he said. The Kerala Chief Minister also spoke briefly over quality control of anti-rabies vaccines which is done by the central government. "Kerala Medical Services Corporation distributes only vaccines certified by central testing laboratories. The anti-rabies vaccine is available at Government Medical Colleges, District Hospitals, General Hospitals, Taluk Hospitals, Community Health Centres, selected Family Health Centers and Primary Health Centres and it is provided completely free of cost."
Rabies eradication projects are jointly implemented by the local self-government bodies and the Animal Welfare Department and September is being observed as Rabies prevention month. Since April this year, 2,00,000 domestic dogs have been vaccinated against rabies. Apart from this, 1.2 lakh rabies vaccinations were given to people who had animal bites. Six lakh doses of vaccine have been handed over to all veterinary hospitals. Another four lakh vaccines have been requested from the districts. The process of distributing them has been started.
According to the High Court's interim judgment, there has been an order restraining the local self-government bodies from implementing the Kudumbashree Mukhanthiram project and this matter is under the consideration of the High Court. From 2017 to 2021, Kudumbashree has sterilized 79,426 dogs. The scheme will be implemented by using the infrastructure of hospitals under the Department of Animal Welfare and appointing veterinary doctors, dog catchers and attendants on a contract basis.
Dumping of meat waste for use by street dogs is strictly prohibited. For this purpose, All the local self-governing bodies will convene a meeting with the owners of hotels, wedding halls, restaurants, eateries, meat traders and businessmen's associations and give curfew instructions on dumping meat waste on roadsides. Animal shelters will be started at a regional level under the supervision of local self-government bodies to rehabilitate stray dogs. For this, the funds of the three-tier panchayats will be coordinated and utilized.