“ There is nothing new in world except the history you do not know.” – Harry Truman

As hapless infants continue to die, dogs enjoy superior healthcare

Govt ‘Celebrates’ Zero Mortality Of Sterilized Canines

M. Hyderi (Greater Kashmir)

Srinagar: At a time when the state government has failed to ensure the well being of hospitalized infants at Valley’s sole children’s hospital, where over 360 new-born babies have died since January 1, stray dogs undergoing sterilization seem to be enjoying better care at state-of-the-art dog pound at Shuhama here. The resort-type sterilization centre for dogs located near the foothills of the picturesque Zabarwan range was constructed out of the money meant for human welfare. The SK University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology (SKUAST), which is providing expertise to the Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) for sterilization of dogs, has expressed pleasure over the successful sterilization of the canines at the facility hailing “zero mortality”. Pertinently, prominent animal rights activist Manika Gandhi recently hailed the Jammu and Kashmir government for its endeavor of ‘dog safety’ when she phoned SMC Commissioner Dr GN Qasba to know about the welfare of dogs and presumably got a convincing reply.

Prominent vet and Head, Veterinary Clinical Services at SKUAST, Dr Dil Muhammad Makhdoomi, in an email, a copy of which is with Greater Kashmir, has apprized his higher-ups at the varsity that over 100 stray dogs have been sterilized at the pound since the beginning of sterilization earlier this month. Though believed to be costly and time-consuming process, the government has banked on this Animal Birth Control-Anti Rabies (ABC-AR) program as the sole solution to dog menace, which has broken all known records of attacks on humans. While hailing the sterilization, the vet says in the mail: It gives me great pleasure to convey that ABC-AR is going on very smoothly and professionally. We have Sir, completed more than 100 surgeries from May 4, 2012 without any complications. You will be happy to note there has not been a single mortality.” “All the operated dogs have been released and rehabilitated in concerned areas,” the vet added.

Prof Din who along with SMC’s veterinary officer, Dr Sajad Mughal, is looking after the Shuhama sterilization process plans to sterilize around 20 dogs a day. “May I request you that keeping in view our potential and vast experiences and infrastructure we need to undertake a minimum of 20 surgeries a day,” Prof Din writes in the mail. “I look forward that the steady supply of the requisite number of dogs are received by this centre now onwards,” he added. When contacted Dr Makhdoomi said the number of sterilized dogs crossed 114 mark on Saturday afternoon adding that none of the canines died or was in bad health.

The National Conference government has come under severe criticism for its alleged preference to the welfare of dogs over humans. While around a dozen humans, mostly children on an average fell prey to dog bites everyday in this historic City, the government disallows any harm to the stray dogs. Last year it even revoked the shoot-at-sight orders to kill rabid dogs while last month protests against dog menace were prohibited.

Visitors could be venturing into the ‘deadly’ GB Pant children’s hospital wards wearing shoes, but at the picturesque Shuhama dog pound one has to remove shoes outside the facility and wear rubber gloves. While the government has failed to make available basic minimum equipment and infrastructure at GB Pant, crores of rupees have been spent on the upkeep of the dog sterilization centre equipping it with high-tech surgical paraphernalia alongwith related facilities. On the other hand, lack of proper ventilation could be a problem at the children’s hospital. But this isn’t the trouble at the dog pound on the City outskirts as each kennel is equipped with exhaust fans and lighting arrangements apart from the glazed tiled walls and shining floors.

As about the eco-friendly surroundings, the government could be finding it difficult to maintain greenery at GB Pant hospital, but the dog pound at Shuhama, is surrounded by ample trees at the beauteous site.

While the dog sterilization goes on, a million dollar question posed last year by the then Chief Justice FM Ibrahim Kalifullah remains unanswered: “Will a dog stop biting after sterilization?”