Kathmandu, November 21
Animal rights activists rescued 17 stray puppies that were about to be dumped into a river, a few days ago. The puppies were saved from being thrown into the Bishnumati River in Swoyambhu area.
Activists representing Animal Nepal, an organisation that works for the welfare of street animals, claimed the puppies, all less than two months old, along with their three mothers were put inside jute sacks by locals in order to get rid of them permanently.
Luckily, volunteers representing Animal Nepal intervened and took the puppies and their mother into their custody. The puppies are now taking shelter at Chvar-based animal shelter home of Animal Nepal.
Shristi Singh Shrestha, Vice-president of Animal Nepal said all the puppies including their mothers were safe at the shelter home.
“If the number of stray animals keeps on increasing, it will be difficult to provide shelter, food and medical facilities for the canines,” said Shrestha.
She said people residing in the area might have tried to dump the puppies after getting frustrated with large number of stray dogs in their area. She also said the puppies and their mothers were lucky, as dozens of stray animals, mostly dogs were killed or hurt inside valley every day.
In a bid to control the number of stray dogs, Kathmandu Metropolitan City and other local governments inside Kathmandu valley have been working to sterilise female dogs for the past three years. However, the recent incident of Swoyambhu showed local government’s efforts in controlling canine population has been ineffective.
Although no specific data exist on numbers of stray dogs, a 2016-report by Humane Society International, an organisation working for protection of animals showed there were above 22,000 stray dogs inside Kathmandu valley.
KMC in April-2016, had made a contract with an organisation called Manu Mitra to sterilise stray dogs at all 32-wards of the local government. Manu Mitra officials said an estimated 14,000 stray dogs had to be sterilised
inside KMC excluding elderly and puppies.
With the contract coming towards end, the organisation has been able to sterilise around 8,000 dogs at 31 wards so far. Sangita Sapkota, press coordinator of Manu Mitra said the organisation worked in coordination with concerned ward chairs to locate stray dogs.
“Although we repeatedly visit the same area even after conducting our campaign, we can’t be certain that every single dog is sterilised,” Sapkota said.
Infiltration of unsterilised dogs from neighbouring areas was another reason for the failure to control canine population in KMC, according to Hari Bhandari, head of Agriculture and Livestock Department, KMC. It would take a few more years for the result of sterilization program to show as they were not killing the canines, but were only stopping them from reproducing. Shrestha of Animal Nepal said general public needed to be made aware of the animal rights to get rid of the problem of stray animals. “The best way to curb the problem is by adopting stray dogs by KMC denizens and not letting them or their offsprings stray on the road anymore.”
A version of this article appears in print on November 22, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.