It is inappropriate to talk about this till another innocent kid is needlessly mauled. Since BBMP is most adept at knee-jerk reactions, they need to be constantly prodded with these two faces and their untimely end caused by a pack of stray dogs, however harrowing it may seem.
- Sridevi, 8 yrs old, Chandra layout (R.I.P since Jan 6 2007)
- Manjunath, 4 yrs old, BEML (R.I.P since March 1 2007)
These are not isolated cases – over 100 dog-bite victims per day are admitted in Victoria hospital alone. The official census of rabies cases is not even known as it is not a "reportable" disease.
NGOs in-charge of the Animal Birth Control (ABC) programme have walked away, citing irregular payments from the BBMP. The BBMP deputy director retorted saying that high number of transfers among senior officals gave rise to the technical snag. Seriously, that was the reason given, folks. No problem! We can wait for the new officials to settle in, issue new tenders and let organizations commence their work, while kids and adults continue to walk nervously on the streets.
The Catch-Neuter-Vaccinate-Release (CNVR) initiative is outsourced to an Ahmedabad-based animal health foundation. It was piloted in Mahadevapura and Bommanahalli in late 2007 with reasonable success. But it has not been extended to other parts of the city. One has to wonder why.
What happened to Sridevi and Manjunath received lots of press. But just like any other news item, the short media and public memory have pushed them to oblivion now. But we owe it to ourselves to mull over this till our streets are kept safe. This will not be a Theresa-esque act of charity; simply manifesting the instinct to protect thy self.
Some governance changes that I would love to see happen:
- Systematic issuance of dog-tags to pet owners after necessary vaccinations. Without tags, owners attract spot-fines. Dogs without owners are likely to get picked up.
- Increase of 1 percent in property taxes to fuel initiatives like ABC, CNVR, Measured Culling
- Arm-chair liberals/animal activists are encouraged to adopt a "treated" dog
- Mandate all hospitals to report the stray-dog bites and rabies cases – this is essential to monitor the progress
A candlelight vigil for Sridevi and Manjunath and a procession that leads to the commissioner’s office is probably a start. The question is will we continue to be our indifferent selves? ⊕