Trivandrum (1 Sep): Admist news of proposed illegal culls and human-dog conflict in Kerala, K.T. Jaleel, Local Self Government Minister and T.K. Jose, Principal Secretary, Department of Local Self Government met representatives of animal protection organizations and confirmed that no culling of street dogs will be undertaken and immediate measures will be put in place to conduct Animal Birth Control across Kerala.
“No such orders have been issued or will be issued. The Local Self Government Department (LSGD) is committed to implementing the Animal Birth Control (ABC) Programme as a priority in the state. This government will ensure that the programme starts at the earliest”, confirmed Jaleel.
Representatives from the Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations (FIPAO), and other Kerala based animal protection NGOs – People For Animals Trivandrum, Humane Society International/India, Street Dog Watch, PAWS Thrissur
appraised the Minister about proposals that have been submitted by NGOs to various District Panchayats/Municipalities/ Municipal Corporations and that have remained unimplemented, leading to an exacerbation of the situation and public impatience.
Arpan Sharma, Director, FIAPO, a national body of animal NGOs added “We are encouraged by the assurances made by the Minister, and we are now expecting quick action to start ABC that will ultimately prevent dog bites and human-dog conflict. Our member organizations will be meeting local authorities across the state to ensure that immediate action is taken and we expect that the minister will stand by his promise.”
Other points conveyed by the Secretary, LSGD were:
1. The government has decided to start a 3-year non-stop ABC drive in the state to curb stray dog population.
2. In places where there is a lot of reported problems, it will start immediately. In other places it will start by November, 2016.
4. The District collectors of each District have been designated the job of coordinating ABC.
5. The local bodies have been granted permission to use their own funds and plan funds to do ABC.
6. The government will ensure that there is no resource crunch for ABC projects.
7. The LSGD website is being update with all the details regarding the projects, Government Orders and instructions and also the relevant Acts and rules including the PCA Act, 1960.
8. The Government welcomes participation of NGOs and NGIs in this project. All those who wish to help should register with the District Collector. Shri. TK Jose also suggested that wherever there are enough individual volunteers it will be good to have them registered as an NGO so that the Government can tie up with them easily.
9. There has to be a very active discussion on how to make available the necessary human resources and infrastructure.
10. A blog will be started in the LSGD website which will be interactive so that success stories can be posted.
Following the meeting, Latha Indira of PFA Trivandrum said, “We are relieved and grateful that the government is on the right side of the law and that mass killing has not been ordered and will not be ordered”.
Preethi Sreevalsan of PAWS Thrissur, who was also at the meeting, added “we were quite discouraged that despite repeated representations, the local self-government bodies were not starting ABC. After the meeting, we trust that this situation will change”.
Sally Kannan of H S I quoted “we are glad that the minister is in agreement that ABC is the way forward. This is a major step forward in relieving Kerala of repeated incidences of dog bites.”
Mary Muscroft of Street Dog Watch said, “we have high expectations off the new government. We look forward to these assurances being translated to action.”
Date : 2 September 2016