180 people bitten by stray dogs everyday in Mumbai

180 people bitten by stray dogs everyday in Mumbai
Representational Image. Courtesy: Sanjeevni Today

On average, around 180 people are bitten by stray dogs each day in Mumbai, the minister of state has revealed.

Minister of State Ranjit Patil shared official figures with the legislative council during a discussion on Thursday. Patil was replying to questions raised by NCP member Jagannath Shinde about the menace of stray dogs.

Patil told the assembly that stray dogs have bitten over 3.28 lakh people in Mumbai over the past five years, four of whom have died. In comparison, only 62,522 dog bite cases were reported in Thane in the same period.

As for the whole of Maharashtra, over 14 lakh people were bitten in the last decade, out of which 430 have died. Nagpur had the worst fatality rate in the state, with 106 dying out of the 53,126 people who were bitten in the last six years.

“The measures taken by the government and the municipal corporations in controlling the menace of stray dogs are not enough. NGOs are being paid to sterilize dogs but they are not doing anything on the ground,” Shinde said.

In response, Patil said NGOs appointed for animal birth control program were actively working on the same and had sterilized 41,385 stray dogs in Mumbai over the past five years.

NCP member Vidya Chavan, however, argued that the numbers are likely fudged by the NGOs.

“The number of dogs that have been sterilized are incorrect, NGO’s fudge these numbers and still walk away with their dues. How is it that even if the dogs are sterilized, the number of stray dogs are increasing,” said Chavan.

While Patil said that anti-rabies vaccinations are being provided for free at all its municipal hospitals, the truth, at least in Mumbai, is far from it.

According to one report, Mumbai only has two anti-rabies centres to treat victims of dog bite, at KEM and Sion hospitals.

In addition, only half of the total 24 wards have dog catching vans, despite repeated demands by veterinarians.

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