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Bid to improve life of Kolkata's stray dogs

Raktima Bose

Kolkata: Life for the city's 58,000-strong stray dog population could improve significantly with the Kolkata Municipal Corporation's recent decision to buy a specialised sterilisation machine through which laparoscopic surgery of the canines can be done.

Apart from that, the KMC authorities are also planning to set up a free animal hospital-cum-rehabilitation centre in the city outskirts other than setting up an electric burning chamber as well as a cemetery where mortal remains of animals can be put to rest with dignity rather than dumping them.

A delegation of the eight-member Stray Dog Birth Control Committee set up by the KMC met West Bengal's Animal Resource Development Minister Noor-e-Alam Chowdhury here on Wednesday to seek monetary assistance from the government to realise the projects.

“According to a stray dog census conducted in 2007-08, there were over 58,000 stray dogs within the city and the figure has risen further in the subsequent years. The number of stray dog sterilised by the KMC authorities till now, however, is only 8000. This necessitates the acceleration of the sterilisation process for which proper infrastructure is needed,” Atin Ghosh, KMC's Mayor-in Council (Health), told The Hindu.

Mr. Ghosh pointed out that manual sterilisation of stray dogs was done so far which left the dogs traumatised in most cases and the wounds take almost a week to heal. The procedure is also time-consuming.

Laparoscopic surgery

“Manual sterilisation requires post-operative care for at least a week but lack of rehabilitation centres made it difficult. The new laparoscopic method will not need such an extended post-operative care and it will ensure around 2500 dogs being sterilised in a month,” he added.

The cost of the laparoscopic sterilisation machine is around Rs.9 lakh and Mr. Chowdhury reportedly assured the KMC delegation of all possible help.

Mr. Ghosh said that land has already been identified for the free hospital and cemetery near the city's garbage dumping ground at Dhapa located in the eastern fringes.

The cost of setting up the electric burning chamber and the cemetery will be borne by the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development.

“Stray dogs are entitled to a healthy and dignified life like every other living being. Towards the end of this month, we are also launching an anti-rabies vaccination programme for stray dogs in all the 15 boroughs areas of the KMC,” Mr. Ghosh said.

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