Gagan K Teja
Tribune News Service
Patiala, March 31
The number of dog-bite cases in the city has soared. One can find stray dogs in almost all parts of the city, including parks. Three dog-bite cases were reported from New Mehar Singh Colony on Saturday. Moreover, a dog has bit more than 10 morning walkers at Polo Ground in the past fortnight. The situation is no different in other parts of the city.
Jasdeep Singh, a banker, said it was highly annoying that the authorities failed to act against the menace.
Amandeep Kaur, another resident, said her six-year-old daughter fell from her bicycle when some stray dogs started following her. “Thankfully, my neighbours were around and they shooed the dogs away. We have a park next to our house but children are not safe there. What are we supposed to do,” she rued.
The Society for People’s Welfare and Awareness, an NGO that is actively working against the menace, is of the view that the Union Government should amend the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. According to Dr DS Bhullar, chairman of the society, the NGO People for Animals, run by a Union Minister, has failed to address the grievances of people bitten by dogs.
“The sterilisation of stray dogs is a welcome step but the government does not understand the seriousness of the situation. The menace should be stopped at any cost,” he added.
Municipal Commissioner Gurpreet Singh Khaira said the civic body had started the drive but it was stopped following intervention from some NGOs. “However, we have started working for the revival of this drive,” he added.
Maneka Gandhi’s objection in 2015
In April 2015, Maneka Gandhi had objected to the contract awarded to an NGO to sterilise dogs in the city. In a complaint to the Patiala Divisional Commissioner, Maneka had alleged that senior officers of the Patiala Administration gave the contract illegally to an NGO, “Endangered Wildlife Society”, which was registered on a fake address of Uttarakhand. In her complaint, Maneka had written “The law is that no group can be contracted for sterilisation of dogs unless it is recognised by the Animal Welfare Board of India. The dogs are killed through brutal catching, overcrowded confinement, lack of water or food, extremely poor surgery.” Following her complaint, the administration had stopped the drive. The Society for People’s Welfare and Awareness had held demonstrations against Maneka Gandhi for sabotaging the drive.