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Thursday, February 22, 2007

No record on stray dogs in Gandhinagar

RTI Plea Seeks Info On Treatment, Sheltering, Sterilisation Of Animals
Paul John | TNN , Gandhinagar: The political highstreets of Gandhinagar are under a canine threat. It now turns out that none of the stray dogs in the headquarters of babudom in Gujarat have been vaccinated. In fact, authorities here have no clue as to what happened to the 2,632 stray dogs that the ‘Notified Area Authority’ claims it had caught last year.
The Gandhinagar civic administration till date never formed a monitoring committee to control dog menace in Gandhinagar city. This committee is mandated under the Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules, 2001. It was only after the Bombay Humanitarian League (BHL), which filed a Right to Information (RTI) application, wanting to know from the Notified Area Authority (NAA), whether they have complied with various provisions under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and Capture of Birds and Animals Rules while capturing dogs in the city, that the issue came to light.
The matter had come up for hearing before the state information commission recently. The PIO of NAA Gandhinagar admitted that there was no monitoring committee in place, while NAA had awarded the work of capturing dogs to a private contractor who had adequate experience in the field while working for the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC).
Pragnesh Patel, who filed the RTI application, contended that a trust called Ahmedabad Animal Help Foundation has said that since its inception it has not entered into an agreement with any authority in Gandhinagar. Patel said that one of the motives of a monitoring committee is to make citizens accountable and sensitive towards issues of cruelty to animals. Here the NAA had no data on the number of deaths that took place while capturing stray dogs.
State chief information commissioner R N Das suggested that NAA authorities should form a committee within 30 days as the issue was of a wider public interest. This is because any citizen, in public interest, can demand information on catching, transportation, sheltering, sterilisation, vaccination and the release of treated stray dogs. And such information cannot be made available to them unless there is a system, as mandated in the Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules, 2001, in place.
The formation of such a committee will also put in place a system that can hold authorities responsible for presence of rabid dogs in localities, run awareness campaigns, provide guidelines to pet dog owners, solicit public funding and co-operation, make veterinarian visits mandatory and get an elaborate survey done for the number of dogs in the town.
Publication: Times Of India Ahmedabad; Date:2007 Feb 20; Section:Gujarat; Page Number 5

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