DOG_BITE_PREVENTION
Health

SMC issues advisory on prevention of dog bites

Highlighting the high canine population in the city, a local asked how the advisory would benefit the people.

Srinagar, Nov 3 : Next time you are confronted by a pack of aggressive dogs in the city, the Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) does not want you to run but just cross your arms over your chest and look away, the animal will become disinterested in you!

The SMC, which is often criticised of failing to control the canine menace in the city, has issued this advisory to the people living in the summer capital of the city, where an estimated 16,000 people have suffered dog bites in the past three years.

Published in local dailies here yesterday, the SMC lists various dos and don’ts in its public advisory on dog bites.

“If you are confronted by an aggressive dog, do not run away or scream at a dog. Stand still, cross your arms over your chest and look away from the dog, do not panic and let the animal sniff around you, it will quickly become disinterested and move on,” reads the advisory.

The SMC has asked the citizens to look for a “certain type of body language” in dogs when confronted.

“An aggressive dog may have a wrinkled nose that draws back to reveal its teeth, the hair along the back of its neck may be raised forming a long column along its spine, its ears may lie back, it may growl or snarl, avoid any dog displaying such signs,” the advisory reads.

While the advisory, issued by Veterinary Officer, SMC, Javaid Rather, suggests that children in the age group of four to nine years are the most common victims of dog bites, it fails to mention how a child would determine the mood of a canine especially when confronted by dogs found almost in every part of the city.

The SMC advises people to never go up to a strange dog, and to not let the children alone around a pack of stray dogs.

“Do not look directly into a dogs eyes, they take the direct eye contact as a challenge for power and control,” the advisory further suggests.

The advisory has attracted mockery from citizens and netizens alike.

“The SMC advisory in yesterday’s paper about dog menace sounds like a script from a comic show,” a Facebook user Sardar Nasir Ali Khan wrote in a post.

Another user, Naqash Sarwar, wrote, “That is ridiculous.I wanted to react to post harshly but contained myself. Instead of performing themselves and containing dog population as per norms they tell people do’s and dont’s. They don’t realise that most of the victims of dog bite are children who can’t understand this advisory.”

Highlighting the high canine population in the city, a local asked how the advisory would benefit the people.

“In a place like Srinagar where we almost live amongst dogs, how will this advisory benefit? We need action rather than such bizarre advisories,” Zahid Ahmad, a resident of downtown Srinagar, said.

However, defending the advisory, the veterinary officer said it was based upon the most scientific observations and facts by the veterinarians world over.

“These dos and don’ts are there world over and have been formulated by vets based on most scientific facts and observations,” Rather told PTI here.

He said covering one’s chest with arms is to protect one’s vital organs in case of an attack by dogs.

Rather said the parents have to be careful not to let their children alone anywhere near the places where packs of dogs can be namely around open garbage sheds.

“We should avoid dumping garbage in open places,” he said, adding parents should not be “careless” and should not go towards dogs for fun.

He said the corporation was working on multiple strategies to reduce the number of dog bites.

“Each day Srinagar generates 450 metric tonnes of garbage, which includes 200 metric tonnes of non-vegetarian waste. We are doing our best to control the accumulation of such garbage in open dumps,” he said.

Rather said while the SMC has closed about 350 open garbage dumps in the city, around 300 still remain.

“We have to close all of them and we are in the process,” he said, seeking cooperation from the residents.

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