As dog bites continue to surge in the province, it appears that the Punjab government’s once ambitiously proposed plans to sterilise and vaccinate stray canines are nowhere but in the doldrums.
Following orders of the Lahore High Court, the government had put forth its Animal Birth Control Policy, which was formulated in consultation with local NGOs. The scheme was meant to safely and humanely reduce the population of stray dogs, but owing disinterested ministers, the policy is yet to be submitted in the Punjab cabinet for final approvals, despite several months of mulling over it.
On the other hand, canine vaccines worth one million ruppees, that were procured for the scheme, are also gathering dust and drawing closer to expiry in government centres, while the programme continues to linger in stagnancy.
Owing to this, district administrations across the province have also stopped catching stray dogs, using the cabinet’s lack of approval for the policy to justify their halted operations. Resultantly, the public has also grown severely critical of the government’s lack of interest in public affairs. Especially, the recent death of a minor from a stray dog bite that has drawn people’s ire, leading many to question the indifferent ministers who’ve not been moved to push for the policy.
However, in the absence of a humane sterilisation and vaccination scheme, some government officials have been pushing to reinstate the barbaric dog culling policy, which they believe is the answer to complications caused by stray dogs.