Even though the government claims to be working towards controlling the street dog population in Srinagar, not much has changed on ground.
“The control methods used here are inadequate, as trapping is rarely a method that is considered and is totally undervalued and underutilized,” a city resident said.
People blame the government for not taking appropriate steps to prevent the increasing dog population.
According to the official data, there were about 48,000 dogs in Srinagar, but unofficial estimates put the number at about 1 lakh.
“Sterilization is a long time process. The government is not serious in solving this grave issue. Something needs to be done timely to check the menace,” Habibullah, a city resident, said.
Stray dogs are seen roaming on streets, chasing cars, pulling down bicycle riders and often attacking pedestrians, including school-going children.
The situation is worse in the outskirts of the city where the municipal corporation is not active enough in checking the menace.
The peripheral hospitals of Directorate of Health Services, Kashmir, receive thousands of cases of dog bites every year, sources said.
According to experts, the reason behind the violence by dogs was the high-protein offal—entrails and internal organs of an animal used as food—theyare fed regularly because of the dietary habits of the residents of Kashmir, where mutton and chicken are a staple diet.
Residents of Chanapora area said that even though hundreds of street dogs scavenge the area, the authorities had failed to check the menace. “For the years the SMC admits that the stray dog population has reached alarming proportions with over one lakh of them prowling in the city. Still, the corporation has failed to act,” Ajaz Ahmad, a senior citizen of the area, said.
“We fear that the dog population, if kept unchecked, could trigger fear psychosis among people. The dog issue needs to be dealt with seriously or else the dogs may outnumber the residents of the city in the years to come and they will victimize every one of us,” he said.