The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) has recently announced a month-long drive to remove street dogs from at least 50 locations across the capital ahead of the G20 summit in September. The move comes as the authorities aim to ensure that delegates and tourists visiting Delhi do not face any inconvenience during the international event.
However, the order has sparked concerns among animal rights activists regarding the care and safety of the dogs being relocated. The activists argue that such relocations may lead to disease transmission and raise questions about the capacity of Animal Birth Control (ABC) centers to host the dogs for such an extended period.
The civic body’s veterinary department has issued orders to its zonal offices and NGOs working with them to identify and ascertain the number of street dogs in and around the G20 locations. These dogs will be shifted to ABC centers for a period of up to six weeks. The G20 locations are spread across seven MCD zones. After the conclusion of the summit, the street dogs will be released back to their original locations.
The month-long drive is set to begin on Friday and will continue until August 30. During this period, civic staff, NGOs, and private veterinary doctors will be deployed for the operation. The MCD has made it clear that no leaves will be sanctioned for its workers during this drive.
The focus of the drive will be on locations identified by city administrations, as well as potential tourist sites such as hotels, convention centers, markets, shrines, and places of cultural and historical interest. Notable places like Red Fort, Chandni Chowk, Town Hall, Jama Masjid, Ghalib Ki Haveli, and Hauz Khas are among the areas identified for the relocation drive.
Animal rights activists have expressed their concerns about the treatment of street dogs during the relocation process. Some activists have pointed out that the ABC Rules 2023 do not permit keeping a street dog at an ABC center for over seven days unless there is a wound. The activists have called for proper enforcement of the rules and suggested that a permanent solution may be achieved if monitoring committees and enforcement mechanisms are put in place by the MCD and the Delhi government.
Delhi has witnessed similar long-term street dog removal drives in the past, such as during the run-up to the 2010 Commonwealth Games. However, such large-scale removal and relocation of dogs have raised issues of food waste disposal, attracting more dogs to the area, and potential health risks for the animals.
It’s important to note that Delhi does not have a precise count of its street dog population. The last survey conducted in 2009 estimated the number at 560,000, but a sub-committee formed by the Delhi Assembly in 2019 suggested the population could be around 800,000.
The MCD has assured that proper care and feeding arrangements will be made at ABC centers during the relocation period, and all dogs will be returned to their original areas. Monitoring through an app will allow veterinary officials to keep track of the process and ensure the well-being of the dogs.
As the drive commences, animal rights activists and concerned citizens continue to advocate for the welfare of street dogs and call for responsible and humane measures to address the issue of street dog population in Delhi.
Sources By Agencies