1.13 lakh people reported dog bites while rabies has claimed 26 lives in Chennai
Reply to an application filed under the Right to Information (RTI) Act has brought startling figures of dog bites in the city of Chennai. Reply provided by the Corporation of Chennai has revealed that more than 100 cases of dog bites are reported every day. The figures show that since 2011, around 1.13 lakh people reported dog bites while rabies has claimed 26 lives.
The figures about the number of people who died of rabies are as under:
· In 2011-12, there were 38,454 dog bites while five people died of rabies.
· In 2012-13, there were 37,937 dog bites while eleven persons died of rabies.
· In 2013-14, there were 37,155 dog bites while ten people died of rabies.
The high number of dog bites and death due to rabies has been attributed to:
· the rise in the number of cases reported due to increased awareness.
· the rise in the menace of stray dogs which is reaching a crisis position.
· lack of a system of registration of breeders and compulsory licensing of dog owners
It has also been reported that the corporation, in coordination with three animal rights NGOs, has sterilised 63,216 strays since 2011. The civic body catches an average of 22,000 strays every year, but their breeding keeps their number high. However, the corporation does not have a clue about the actual numbers of stray dogs in the city.
The number of complaints about stray dogs was 4,689 in 2011-12 which rose to 9,290 in 2012-13. Animal right activists have argued that the dogs do not bite unless provoked. 1,569 licences have been issued to the pet owners in 2013-14 by the corporation. It has been claimed that enough food for the 50,000-plus strays in the city is provided by the poor disposal of garbage and the roadside eateries.