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People's committees for vet hospitals mooted

Staff Reporter

Divakaran inaugurates integrated rabies control programme



FOR SAFETY: Minister for Food, Civil Supplies and Animal Husbandry C. Divakaran tying a token to a dog's collar after inaugurating a licensing and health certification programme for pet dogs taken up by the City Corporation on Thursday. — Phot o: S. Mahinsha

Thiruvananthapuram: Minister for Food, Civil Supplies and Animal Husbandry C. Divakaran on Thursday announced a proposal for public participation to improve the functioning of veterinary hospitals. He was speaking after inaugurating Suraksha, an integrated rabies control programme taken up by the City Corporation.

The Minister said regional committees comprising representatives of residents' associations, political parties and students' organisations would be set up to streamline the functioning of veterinary hospitals and organise a campaign against rabies and the stray dog menace. These panels, he said, would function on the lines of hospital development committees, to resolve the inadequacies facing veterinary centres.

Lauding the City Corporation for the initiative, Mr. Divakaran said the Government would ask all local bodies to follow suit. He said the Government would supply the anti-rabies vaccines for the project. The Minister later handed over health cards for pet dogs issued by the City Corporation and tied licence tags to the collars of two dogs.

Mayor C. Jayan Babu presided over the function. MLAs V. Sivankutty and V. Surendran Pillai, Deputy Mayor V. Jayaprakash, corporation's Health standing committee chairman G.R. Anil, corporation secretary T.K. Raveendran, Health Officer Sreekumar and senior officials were present. An exhibition on zoonotic diseases was organised by the Animal Husbandry Department at the venue in connection with World Zoonoses Day.

In his report on the scheme, Mr. Raveendran said Suraksha would follow a two-pronged approach to the control of rabies. While pet dogs will be licensed and issued health certificates, stray dogs would be sterilised or euthanised. A two-week intensive campaign will be taken up in the first phase, during which brochures will be distributed to all households. Awareness camps will also be organised for residents' associations at the vet hospitals. This will be followed by a week-long vaccination programme.

Under the health certification programme, pet dogs will be vaccinated against rabies and issued a licence. A metal token displaying the permit number and the corporation emblem will be issued to the owners of the certified animals.

The health card issued for each animal will contain the name and address of the owner and the age, name, breed, colour and distinguishing marks of the animal. It will also contain the vaccination details.

The certification service will cost Rs.50 per dog, with a subsidy of 50 per cent for pet owners below the poverty line. The Animal Husbandry Department has provided a mobile unit for the project.

The second component of the Integrated Rabies Control Project involves the animal birth control (ABC) programme for sterilisation of stray dogs. The dogs will be captured and sterilised at the Pettah veterinary hospital and the District Veterinary Centre. Rabid and diseased stray dogs would be euthanised.

A monitoring committee chaired by the Mayor has been constituted for Suraksha. This will be backed up by 10 zonal implementation committees and ward-level committees headed by councillors.

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