Dogs flourish amid war
[TamilNet, Friday, 17 July 1998, 23:59 GMT]
Its a dog's life for the Batticaloa public, which has to contend with an estimated 25,000 stray dogs in the District. Around 10,000 of these haunt Batticaloa town, said sources in Batticaloa. The main reason for the explosion in the population of stray canines in the area is that the two usual methods of eliminating them - shooting and poisoning - can no longer be practised in Batticaloa.
During the days of relative peace in the area, the Batticaloa Municipal Council (BMC) employed staff to shoot stray dogs, for which they were paid a bounty. Simultaneously, dogs were got rid of by poisoning them with cyanide.
But with stringent security measures in place due to the island's ongoing war, no guns are issued either to BMC employees or to members of the public. Furthermore, with cyanide a part of the Tiger guerrilla's standard wherewithal, possession of the toxin has also become an offence.
The only exception security authorities are prepared grant is for the Commissioner of the BMC to bear personal responsibility for keeping a gun in safe custody.
But S. Navaneethan, Commissioner of BMC is not prepared to take the risk, said sources.
There is another method available - drowning the animals at sea - but Municipal Council officials are reluctant to do that because they say it is cruel.
Meanwhile, there have been a number of incidents where the dogs have attacked members of the public, sometimes with tragic consequences. The situation is further compounded by hospitals in the area not giving the required treatment to victims of dog bite.
According to sources, if someone is bitten on the head, neck, stomach or genitals, a serum vaccine over and above the usual doses has to be administered. But in the local hospitals, only the normal course of injections are given wherever the injuries are, said sources.
Despite seminars to inform doctors about taking extra precautions if someone is injured in these sensitive organs of the body, doctors have not taken notice. Nadarajah Premanand, a university student, was a victim of such negligence, said sources.