Section 7 of the Animal Welfare Act, 2019, says stray animals cannot be killed or forcefully relocated
Animal rights campaigners have called upon the authorities to plan for long term vaccination as the correct way to address the crisis involving stray dogs in Dhaka and other areas of the country.
Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) suddenly became a controversial entity after it undertook an initiative to relocate stray dogs from some areas of Dhaka as a pilot project.
Animal lovers and organizations working for animal welfare pointed out that the procedure adopted by DSCC is not only inhumane, it’s also illegal.
According to Section 7 of the Animal Welfare Act, 2019, stray animals cannot be killed or forcefully relocated.
Condemning the authorities' move to relocate stray dogs from one place to another, animal lovers said the government should bring stray dogs under a vaccination program so that there is no need to get rid of them from some areas.
Rubaiya Ahmad, founder and chairman of Obhoyaronno - Bangladesh Animal Welfare Foundation, said the whole world is opting for vaccination to control dog population, whereas the DSCC is doing something else to the contrary.
“The city corporation is relocating stray dogs after anesthetizing them but I don't know from where the DSCC has learned this method of relocation,” she added.
Injecting stray dogs with anesthesia and carelessly leaving them somewhere is cruel and it also leaves them vulnerable, said Rubaiya.
“Although DSCC claimed that they are doing this for public health, they are yet to consult the public health department on the matter,” she claimed.
“Vaccinating stray dogs and educating people is the only way to keep them under control,” she emphasized.
Rakibul Haq Emil, founder of People for Animal Welfare (PAW), said it is now essential for DSCC to conduct a survey to figure out how many stray dogs are there in areas under their jurisdiction.
Such a survey is absolutely necessary before undertaking a strategic plan to control stray dogs through vaccination, he continued.
He further said South Asian countries like India, Nepal, Bhutan, and Sri Lanka have stray dogs roaming the streets but they are controlling the stray dog population through vaccination.
“DSCC is not capable of relocating 30,000 dogs to the Matuail area, which is why they need to chalk out and initiate a long term plan,” opined Emil.
The need to find a humane solution
Dr AK Fazlul Haque Bhuiyan, dean of Bangladesh Agricultural University’s Faculty of Animal Husbandry, said the way DSCC is going about to keep the stray dog population in check seems cruel.
Urging the DSCC to cancel its relocation plan, Fazlul recommended the city corporation to look for better methods adopted by other countries.
Asked about the issue, DSCC Public Relations officer Abu Naser told Dhaka Tribune that at least 30,000 stray dogs are roaming the streets of DSCC and the organization will sit with all the stakeholders before committing to a permanent solution to keep these stray dogs in control.
“Our primary plan was to relocate a small number of stray dogs from some areas of DSCC like Nagar Bhaban, Dhanmondi Lake, and Ramna Park. That’s why we moved some 50-70 dogs from these areas to the Matuail neighbourhood on a trial basis,” Naser added.
Nevertheless, the DSCC official also touched upon the issue of vaccination. “We are currently considering a vaccination program to control the stray dog population in the city.”