How to manage community dogs?

Kathmandu : The number of street dogs has been increasing drastically with a rapid growth of urbanization. Because of the rise in the number of stray dogs more people are falling victims to them. Statistics show that stray dog victims are more in urban areas than in rural areas. But there are many instances where village dogs have killed domesticated animals like goats and sheep.

According to government statistics, 17, 320 people were bitten by dogs in the fiscal year 2014/2015. The number has increased to 37, 226 in the fiscal year 2016/2017. According to a report published by the World Health Organization, 59,000 people died due to rabies virus, which is spread to people from the saliva of infected animals, every year.

A report of Epidemiology and Disease Control Division showed that 32,000 people lost their lives because of rabies. Of them, 99 percent people had died of dog bite.  Currently, around 150 countries in the world are affected by rabies.

Meanwhile, the dogs’ feces have been polluting the environment and the people have been forced to tolerate the humiliation in the society because of the sexual activity of the dogs.

According to the report prepared by a research team of Coronel University, Veterinary Medicine College, dogs body and feces are the carrier of hookworms. Another statistics states that one gram of dog poop can contain up to three million fecal coliform bacteria which causes diarrhea and also triggers problems in kidney and intestine.

According to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), there are 11,400 dogs in Northern Virginia which produce 5,000 pounds of poop every day. The poop has made the river full of bacteria. Dogs can transmit many kind of diseases like Giardia, Salmonella, Corona Virus and Campylobacter, among others, to human.  Apparently, dogs poop is more harmful than the humans.

According to Kathmandu Animal Treatment Center, there are around 22,500 community dogs in Kathmandu alone. The same organization said that around 200 people died of rabies and 35,000 people fall prey to dog bite every year. According to a study carried out by Mohan Acharya and his team, there were around 1,767 dogs in Pokhara. It has been learnt that the number of this kind of dogs are increasing due to the increase in waste and lack of scientific slaughter house.

The poop excreted by these dogs is putting the human lives at risk unknowingly. According to a preliminary study, there are around 4,000 community dogs in Biratnagar. The study has not been carried out in all the places to know about their situation. Nevertheless, it is actually unbelievable about the terror unleashed by the community dogs. And it has become a big challenge at present to manage these dogs.

According to the articles of World Health Organization, there are two billion community dogs in the world. USA has the highest dog population of 78 million. India has 12 million and China has 27 million dogs. Hence, the dogs are becoming a huge problem not only in Nepal but also in the entire world.

The relations between dogs and humans were established more than 9,000 years ago. According to Biology Letter, scientific paper, dogs have come to human family from the family of jackal. People had started to migrate to Asia from Europe 9,000 years ago. The dogs had started following them thinking that they would get something to eat, it has been learnt.

Earlier, people had already started keeping sheep, cows and pigs as domestic animals. The dogs have become domestic animal as they were used to protect sheep, cows and pigs. Now, the dogs are used to find crime scene evidence and has become a good friend of humans. The dogs, however, can also be found on the streets in pathetic situation these days.

The World Health Organization has a plan to eliminate rabies from the earth by 2030. As per the plan, World Health Organization has been organizing various program all over the world. Nepal government has also been working to achieve that goal.

Earlier, the government had started a campaign to kill the stray dogs in mass to control the number. Later, bowing to the pressure from animal rights activists, the government stopped this campaign.

The best way to control the population is to sterilize all the stray dogs. It is also necessary to raise awareness among the people about the effects of dogs to the society and environment. It is assumed that the dogs are entering city areas from the villages. That is why, the concerned authority should take an initiative to control the dogs from entering the city areas from the villages.

The community dogs do not only have negative aspects. They help in keep the eco system in check and also play a vital role in regulating the food products. That is why, we should think about the way to manage the dogs rather than to fully control them. This will not work out only by working for15 days in one city. The campaign should be organized at the same time in a big area.

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