RAWALPINDI: There has been an increase of dog bite cases in the city, with the civic bodies taking no action to handle the problem.
According to data collected from three government run hospitals, between 90 and 100 cases of dog bites are reported in the emergency departments in different parts of the city each day.
In the past, the Rawalpindi Municipal Corporation would launch campaigns to cull stray dogs, but has not conducted a drive to kill the dogs in the city since 2008.
City has seen an increase in dog bite cases
Residents of the city, especially those living in Faisal Colony, Gulzar-e-Qauid, Shah Khalid Colony, College Road, Sadiqabad, Murree Road, Liaquat Road and Iqbal Road complain that stray dogs are creating problems for pedestrians and motorcyclists, especially at night.
A resident of Faisal Colony, Mohammad Said, said his son was playing outside his house when he was bitten by a stray dog and that dogs roam the streets in packs.
“One of my neighbours was bit by strays in Satellite Town when he was going to offer Fajr prayers at the local mosque”, said a resident of Satellite Town, Ali Ahmed.
He said that though locals have registered complaints with the Rawal Town Municipal Administration (RTMA), the civic authority is yet to do something about the problem.
A senior RTMA official told Dawn that a dog culling campaign was to be launched every year, but since the local government system was rendered ineffective in 2008, the drive had been discontinued.
“The health department was separated from the civic body under the local government system and the responsibility to cull strays was given to the solid waste management and the health department,” he explained.
He said that after a dispute between the three departments, the Municipal Services Department had sought help from the Punjab government which declared that the killing of stray dogs was the responsibility of the Town Municipal Administration (TMA).
In November of 2013, the Punjab local government department asked the health department to supervise TMA and offer technical support in the campaign to cull stray dogs and tasked the solid waste department to properly dispose of the bodies afterwards.
However, the official said, no action in this regard has been taken for three years.
He said the health department, RTMA and the Rawalpindi Municipal Waste Company were busy in the anti-dengue campaign.
RTMA spokesperson Tahir Mehmood Khan confirmed that the civic body had not launched any campaigns in the city recently.
“After receiving written complaints, we told the health department to purchase poison and kill stray dogs,” he said.
Published in Dawn, April 28th, 2016