Stray dogs continue to hound citizens in Karachi. Around 107 dog bite cases were reported from Jinnah Hospital alone on Wednesday. Seventeen people have died so far this year of rabies in Sindh.
“Every day, around 25 to 30 patients with dog bites are brought to the hospital,” says Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre Executive Director Dr Seemin Jamali.
She says the numbers have risen drastically from 2011, when they had seen around 2,800 cases, to more than 8,500 this year.
Dr Jamali adds that the treatment is costing the national exchequer heavily as the injured don’t just require an anti-rabies vaccine, but also rabies immunoglobulin. This is because most of the bites are category three bites or deep wounds which also need antibiotics.
Referring to trap, neuter and release (TNR) campaigns which are used to reduce the population of stray dogs, Dr Jamali said it is a solution for the long-term, while action such as culling is required immediately.
The Sindh High Court has said that any one is allowed to catch stray dogs, reported SAMAA TV’s Irfan Ul Haque. The local government secretary has been given a notice and the local government and health secretaries were ordered to present their reports regarding the work they’ve done on October 22.
If someone, who was bitten, dies due to unavailability of an anti-rabies vaccine, the court ruled that the Sindh health department would be held responsible.
Sindh Health Minister Dr Azra Pechuho has said that 8,400 doses of the vaccine are available in the city’s hospitals.
Edhi Foundation voluntarily catching stray dogs
The Edhi Foundation has been catching and reportedly neutering stray dogs in Karachi recently.
“In one month, we’ve rescued around 1,000 dogs, out of whom 500 have been neutered,” says Bilal Edhi.
The ones that were neutered were released back into their habitat where they could get food and water for survival. Some 60 to 70 dogs were wounded severely, he said, adding that they were treated and admitted to their shelter homes.
However, he says they get dozens of calls about dog bites and feral dogs every day. These can sometimes take many days to resolve as a single neighbourhood can have up to ten or more dogs.
Culling stray dogs in Lahore
A religious scholar, Mufti Naeem, told SAMAA TV that religion allows the killing of animals if they’re harming humans.
Culling campaigns are being carried out on a daily basis in Lahore.
Eighteen teams are working on ground, reports Riaz Ahmed. Ten of these shoot stray dogs while eight of the teams use poison to kill them.
This activity begins at 5am and ends at 7pm, according to project head Dr Asmat. She says at least 100 dogs are killed every day.