Animal Birth Control

The Government of India and the court have specifically forbidden the killing of street dogs. The courts have stated that dogs are a part of the city and simply being stray does not warrant a dog being killed. The court observed that “It needs no great learning to appreciate that dog or animals are not encroachers on earth and there is no question of eliminating them ….it is the duty of every citizen to have compassion to animals including dogs….All state functionaries such as municipalities cannot ignore this obligation” 

Many small towns are taking away dogs and killing them because they do not have sterilization. This needs to be stopped immediately by getting the ABC (Animal Birth Control) programme started in your own area. This ABC (Animal Birth Control) programme has been developed by WHO as the only practical solution to control the street dog population and eradicate rabies. In cities where it has been wholeheartedly implemented dog numbers and bites have reduced and these are now zero rabies zones. Based on this success, GOI has formulated the Dog Rules 2001 which directs that municipalities work with animal welfare organisations to implement the ABC programme.  These Rules make it illegal to either kill or remove dogs from any area as it is crucial to the success of the programme that dogs remain in their own areas to be systematically covered by the programme.  The Court too has accepted that sterilization and vaccination of dogs is the only scientific and humane solution and directed all Municipalities to follow it.  Killing or removal of dogs from an area has been ruled out because it is counter -productive. Dogs exist in any area because there is uncollected garbage and rats. If these dogs are removed, they will be replaced by other dogs or even more dangerously, rats.  On the other hand, if left in the area, they will defend it against other dogs and prevent them from entering the colony. Once the existing population is sterilized, the numbers will over time decrease.

1. Make a group of people and give them a name. This will make your identity and people would know whom to call when they want dogs in their area to be sterilized. Look at the site and learn something about animals, such as their behaviours, territory, and diseases if any and their growing population.

Points to be noted while doing the field survey

  • Average number of dogs identified in the area and the number of pups seen on the street. If more number of pups are seen, it indicates that more number of fertile females are present in the area.
  • The addresses and contact numbers of the RWA representative or local residents / village pradhan is required for follow ups, both after pickups and subsequent release of dogs back to the areas from where they were brought from.
  • Animal welfare activists in the area should be identified and educated about the ABC programme and its purpose. The activists should be given the addresses and phone numbers of the AWOs involved in the ABC Programme as well as the local Municipal Officers, in charge of that ward. The activists should then be guided to do a proper follow-up on the status of the dogs released.
  • Some common landmarks need to be identified like, water tanks, parks, post boxes etc. to facilitate proper relocation of the dogs at the time of release.

The solution of over growing population of strays is sterilization and vaccination of street dogs. Sterilization basically involves spaying of females and castration of male dogs so that they do not reproduce. Vaccination involves giving the dogs an anti- rabies shot. After sterilization the dogs do not reproduce and hence their population becomes stable. As they are vaccinated against Rabies and other diseases they do not pose any health hazard and live out their natural lives healthily and harmlessly. 

Apart from reducing numbers, the sterilization and vaccination programme has a number of other benefits:

  • No new pups will be born which will allow the population to stabilize.
  • Vaccination against rabies eliminates the danger from the disease negligible.
  • Sterilized dogs will mean that there will not be fighting or mating during the heat season.
  • With no litters to protect, female dogs will not be aggressive.
  • Minus the strain of pregnancy, female dogs will remain healthier.
  • The existing dog population will be familiar, friendly, healthy and harmless.
  • Sterilized dogs do not get into fights and injure each other during the mating season.
  • As residents no longer ill-treat dogs, the dogs do not feel threatened and are friendly and harmless.

There is a further benefit of having dogs in a colony which is better security for the residents. Dogs make an area safe. Colony guards normally sit together at the gate especially in winter when it is too cold to patrol.  Even when they do patrol, they cannot detect persons hiding behind trees or cars or in the dark. But strangers are easily detected by colony dogs. There have been innumerable instances where thieves have been caught as a result of dogs alerting residents by their barking. During the days of the Punjab trouble, terrorists would first target the local dogs that would otherwise make it impossible for them to enter any village undetected.   Whether you feed them or not, dogs being territorial animals, guard the colony. As a result, crime is common in areas where there are no dogs as thieves target such areas.

2. To know the sterilization laws and ways in ABC ( Animal Birth Control) Programme by Govt.of India. Please read following:

3. Meet the Municipal Commissioner and ask for a dedicated doctor and two helpers and two catchers. (People For Animals) PFA Delhi will train the doctor and helpers and Madam Maneka Sanjay Gandhi, Chairperson PFA will interact with the Commissioner to send them here. According to ABC rules 2001 (sub section 38) the Corporation has to form a Committee. This committee has AWBI (Animal Welfare Board of India) recognized NGOs and municipality vets on it. The committee has to oversee the sterilization programme and should meet once a month to discuss problems and listen to complaints. This is what is happening in most cities where the programme has been successful.

4. You need to get a place from the Municipal Commissioner with water and electricity and then get an MOU signed by the MC so that the NGO can oversee the programme which is funded by the local government. In Delhi, the ABC programme is being administered by The Society for Stray Canine Welfare formed in December 2002, which is headed by the MCD Commissioner and includes representatives from Delhi Govt’s Animal Husbandry Department and several local NGOs.  Under it, 9 animal welfare NGOs are running dog sterilization centres where over 15000 dogs are being sterilized annually. The city has been divided into zones with each zone being dealt with by a local NGO. 

5. The NGO will also be trained by PFA Delhi on how catching is done, what to look for in a dog, how to keep a clean surgery, what to feed and how to release and how to keep records. The local NGO is given a building and vehicle with driver and catchers by the Municipal Corporation. The ABC (Animal Birth Control unit) should have an office where records are kept, preferably a computer which sends the daily/weekly reports to the Municipal Corporation. The pound should have a kitchen, a bathroom and an isolation shed, a surgery room, a post-surgery room, cages or kennels to keep pre and post-operative animals. The big area should be made into a shelter for injured, diseased animals. There should be another room which acts as an Outpatient department to treat sick and injured animals. The surgery should be made sterile. This will have to be done by the Municipality and money allocated for the building. A time of one month should be given to finish the building.

6. The NGO should be entrusted with the job of picking up the animals, deworming them, sterilizing them, treating the ones that need other help, vaccinating them, cutting the ear for instant recognition and then releasing them. The Municipality should give the NGO a vehicle with cages for pickups and pay the salary of a driver and two/three Class 4 employees who will double as sweepers, feeders etc. These employees will be trained on how to pick up animals. At least 3 Janitors need to be employed by the MC for the dog compounds to be cleaned of faeces etc, this MUST be done on a daily basis. The NGO should have two doctors and both should be trained in sterilization methods. Treatment tables, OT lights and cages could be given as this will help keep the animals. The idea is to get off the ground as quickly as possible instead of making the NGOs spend a lot in infrastructure. Food should be cooked on the premises. The dogs must be fed twice a day – once in the morning by 9am and then again by 4pm. Since the dogs are locked up in the compound they have no means of fending for themselves. All times they must be clean water bowls in the compounds.The operation theatre must be made professional and should be a sterile area. There should be one room for an OPD so that animals can be checked. There should be a fridge. There is no point in sterilizing a dog if it does not get vaccinated. And no vaccinations can be there if there is no fridge.

7. No dogs should be released the same day or even the next. There must be a minimum of a 4 day period for healing as the stitches are painful and painkillers should be given as well as long acting antibiotics.  When dogs are brought in for sterilization, the diseased and injured dogs should be identified and post recovery should be taken to the post-operative rooms for care. The healthy dogs must be released in the EXACT same place that they have been picked up from. All dogs should be vaccinated and ear marked. Before release each dog should get an ivomectin injection which heals and prevents skin disease. If the animal has skin disease or any other complication it can be kept for a longer time.No dogs should be picked up with tongs. Tagging should be done of each dog with a plastic collar and number so that no animals are put in the wrong places. This is the main reason why programmes go wrong. Registers should be maintained saying:

  • a.) Description of dog and number
  • b.) Sex of dog
  • c.) Exact place he/she was picked up from ( e.g. Lamppost on x road in x colony)
  • d.) Picked up by whom
  • e.) Date of pickup
  • f.) Health of dog
  • g.) Operated on which day by which doctor
  • h.) Released on which day
  • i.) If the dog is otherwise sick, then he is transferred to another register.

8. This Animal Birth Control programme should be accompanies with hoardings all over the city urging people to get their dogs sterilized and saying they can have it done free at the pound.  This will get people involved. In fact if some company agrees to underwrite the food at the pound or medicines, it should be allowed to take some publicity on the hoardings.

The Pound should not be tendered. This has only attracted scum from all over the state and given rise to a mafia that is being headed by a few people and which is applying all over Maharashtra in different names. They neither have doctors nor expertise and the idea is simply to make money through compliant officials. This leads to health officers taking bribes and giving it to untrained groups of NGOs who subcontract them to compounders and then each animal is being killed systematically while looting the state exchequer. Any attempt to investigate simply leads to different names being given to the same group. Lay down a flat fee – I would suggest Rs. 750 and give it to an NGO that has been proven to be decent and interested in animal welfare. The Criteria could be that they are recognized by the AWBI. The pound should be having an office where records are kept, preferably a computer which sends the daily/weekly reports to the Municipal Corporation. The pound should have a kitchen, a bathroom and isolation shed apart from

  • Admission room
  • Examination room
  • Pre Operation room
  • Operation theatre
  • Post operation room
  • Kennels

10. There should be another room which acts as an Outpatient department to treat sick and injured animals. The surgery should be made sterile.


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