Colombo stray dogs leave CMC bigwigs racking their brains


By Dilanthi Jayamanne

The Veterinary Department of the Colombo Municipal Council (Vet CMC) yesterday said there had been a large number of complaints about stray dogs.

CMC Chief Municipal Veterinarian, Dr Vipula Dharmawardanaa said some complaints were of stray dog bites.

"However, the majority complaints are about other issues," He observed. The complaints have been made by the National Hospital, Colombo, Lady Ridgeway Hospital for Children, De Soysa and Castle Street Hospitals for Women, SLAF Hospital, schools in the Colombo city MC area, Sri Lanka Institute of Advanced Technological Education in Mattakkuliya, Presidential Secretariat Office, the Colombo Magistrate Court Complex, te Police Headquarters, Cinnamon Gardens Police Stations, the Welikada Prison, the Ports Authority, the Defence Ministry, the Ministry of Internal Transport, the Kelanitissa Power Station, the NARA Institute, the BMICH, the Kettarama and Sugathadasa Stadias, the Fort Railway Station and all public markets in Colombo.

Dr Dharmawardana said dog count taken in May last year had shown there were approximately 2,500 stray dogs in the Colombo city. A dog census carried out in the city in 2014, by a private non governmental organisation (NGO) had found that there were about 5,000 stray dogs in the city, he added.

Chief Municipal Veterinarian said that it was too early to carry out a second census this year. The efforts of the council to control strays had been in vain as people living outside the city limits brought dogs into Colombo and abandoned them in public places mainly near market places, meat and fish stalls.

Media Spokesman for the Minister of Provincial Councils and Local Government (MPCLG), Amila Balasuriya said, the Ministry Secretary K. Padmasiri had appointed a committee to assess the stray dog situation and to brief the Cabinet on the decisions could be taken regarding it within five weeks. The committee comprises Secretaries of the Ministries of Health, Livestock and Rural Community Development, and Commissioner of the Western Provincial Council and the Chief Municipal Veterinarian of theColombo Municipal Council.

The first meeting of the committee was held early this month;it was decided to come up with a National Policy to control stray dogs. The committee members visited the Narahenpita and Kirulapona public markets where stray dogs could be seen.

The Ministry of Provincial Councils and Local Government will also take steps to amend the Rabies Ordinance No 7 of 1893 and the Dog Registration Ordinance No 25 of 1901.

Provisions in the new amendments stated that a National advisory committee was to be appointed including members from the Ministry of Provincial Councils and Local Government, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Livestock and Rural Community Development, and Department of Animal Health to regulate, instruct and supervise the actions taken to prevent and control rabies. According to these new amendments, it is the duty of all Local Government authorities to register all dogs in the relevant administrative area annually, he said. The total expenditure for registering dogs would be determined by local government authorities.

Meanwhile, Director of Public Health Services Dr P. A. L. Harischandra, quoting recent data, said that in 2015, there had been 2,000,000 pet dogs. Approximately 1,500,000 had been vaccinated and about 150,000 of the dogs had been sterilised. The Ministry spent Rs. 230 million on vaccination and sterilisation. Rs. 400 million had been spent on vaccinating people bitten by dogs, he said.

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