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August 2, 2010

First Dog Census

HSI carries out first-ever dog census in Gujarat

Humane Society International

  • A common sight.

by Khushboo Vyas

Ahmedabad, India is a city of approximately 7 million people, with an estimated 300,000 dogs. It is often in the news with stories about its street dog population and related concerns over rabies and dog bites.

Background

In 2006, HSI provided training support to an Indian charity, Animal Help Foundation, which then carried out 45,000 spay/neuter surgeries in 12 months. Unfortunately, after this project ended, a series of events put a halt to spay/neuter operations in Ahmedabad.

Recently, in a bid to restart a sterilization program, representatives from AWBI (the Animal Welfare Board of India) and FIAPO (the Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organizations) met with concerned officials to propose a plan. It was decided that, as a first step in a series of activities, a census would be conducted to gain a clearer idea of the number of dogs involved. It was requested that HSI assist and we are happy to be a part of this initiative given our history with the city. Dr. Andrew Rowan, president & CEO of HSI, visited Ahmedabad recently to work out the details.

About the census

Thus, this August, Ahmedabad will carry out its first dog census, becoming the second location in India after Jodhpur (Rajasthan) to do a canine headcount under the guidance of experts from HSI. The census is expected to take approximately two months and will hopefully give a better idea of the extent of the problem. This will help in planning for sterilization of the dogs to control their numbers, and vaccination of the animals.

The census-taking process will involve four teams of two members each under the guidance of Dr. Sunil Chawla (Veterinary Director, HSI India). The dog count will be based on pre-decided routes of a certain length to be able to collect enough data. The routes will be ward/zone wise and the local human demography will be taken into account. Finally, sampling technique will be used to reach a conclusion.

A dog census will benefit both the dogs and the community of Gujarat. HSI believes that with a consistent, well-thought-out, long-term approach to the issue, the city's dog population can be controlled humanely.

Khushboo Vyas is Online Communications Producer for HSI India.