Caretakers comfort stray dogs at the centre in Tarlai, Islamabad on Thursday. — White Star
Caretakers comfort stray dogs at the centre in Tarlai, Islamabad on Thursday. — White Star

ISLAMABAD: As many as 70 dogs have been shifted to the newly-opened Stray Dogs Population Centre at Park Road in Tarlai.

According to Director General (DG) Civic Management Shahjahan Khan, the stray dogs are happy in their new home and being provided best care.

“The dogs enjoy their time in the play and rest areas,” he said and added: “We are going to neutering the first batch of 15 dogs on Saturday. For the time being, only on complaints we are shifting stray dogs to the centre.”

The DG said after surgery, the dogs will be gradually released after about two months and then more will be shifted to the centre for the same procedure.

Official says they will be able to control the population of canines in a few years

He said the centre had the capacity of hosting 500 dogs and in future this could be extended to 1,000. To a query, he said there are conflicting figures about the total number of stray dogs in Islamabad as some NGOs said there were 50,000 stray dogs and others put the number at around 100,000.

“Let me make it clear, within a few years we will manage controlling the population of dogs in Islamabad,” the DG said and appreciated the role of CDA’s partners, NGOs and animal lovers who were supporting the civic agency.

The centre, which is said to be the first in the country, was inaugurated on Saturday by CDA Chairman and Chief Commissioner Mohammad Usman Younis.

“Islamabad is the only city in the country where such a centre has been established,” he said and added that the centre was established in 25 days and it was totally indigenous idea.

According to the CDA, complaints about stray dog-bites have been received from different areas of Islamabad, especially from rural areas. But due to lack of an effective solution, it was not getting a permanent solution.

It is relevant to note that Islamabad High Court and the Federal Ombudsman Office played the main role in forcing the CDA to set up the shelter and vaccination centre for stray dogs.

Last month, the Federal Ombudsman Secretariat came down hard on civic agencies for failing to devise a policy on stray dogs and not setting up a shelter and vaccination centre as residential sectors, public parks and markets had seen a growing number of stray dogs.

Secretary Federal Ombudsman Secretariat Ejaz Ahmed Khan had chaired a meeting to discuss the issue related to stray dogs and proposed a shelter and vaccination project.

The secretary had expressed concerns over failure of stakeholders in devising a policy and setting up a shelter and vaccination centre in line with the orders of the IHC issued in 2020.

He said last year the IHC had directed for a policy on neutering stray dogs and setting up a shelter and vaccination centre, adding it was a matter of concern that so far all concerned departments had failed to comply with the court’s judgement.

However, the new CDA chairman took personal interest and directed the CDA to set up the centre.

In the past, the CDA/MCI used to kill stray dogs but the IHC stopped them from shooting and poisoning them with the direction to devise a policy to neutralise such dogs.

The IHC had passed the judgement on a petition filed by Faryal Nawaz, the co-founder of an Islamabad-based NGO - Help Welfare Organisation. Before the IHC’s verdict, personnel from the sanitation directorate of the civic agency used to shoot down stray dogs in residential areas.

Published in Dawn, September 30th, 2022

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