April 6, 2016
First of a Kind Dog Population Management Program in Hisar a Success After One Year; More Than 92,000 Dogs Treated
Humane Society International/India sterilizes and vaccinates 18,550 dogs and vaccinates 74,014 dogs
More than 92,000 community dogs received sterilization and/or vaccination as well as other treatment as part of the first of its kind National Rabies Control Program in the Hisar Division of Haryana. Humane Society International/India reached the milestone one year after starting the two-year program with support of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the Animal Welfare Board of India and the Haryana State Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying. HSI contributed almost INR 1.4 crores worth of labor, material and equipment, including 12 vehicles, in the first year.
The project is in sync with Supreme Court orders issued in 2015 and 2016 directed at states and local bodies to tackle dog population through humane animal birth control protocols. These orders came after repeated reports of dog culling and dog abuse across India.
Rahul Sehgal, director of HSI/Asia, explains, “In just one year, our dog management program in Hisar has demonstrated that large scale sterilization and vaccination projects are possible. Our experience from this past year leaves us with a sense of achievement and hope that Humane Society International/India is able to sustain a humane dog population management program while maintaining high levels of animal care and welfare. With almost daily reports of animal abuse in India, we hope this program shows communities that many issues involving street dogs can be resolved with effective dog population management.”
Some of the challenges the program initially faced included identifying appropriate space, facilities and infrastructure; identifying and training personnel in the lesser known vocation of animal welfare; and convincing locals to agree to the surgical procedure for community dogs. The team often travelled long distances and faced severe weather conditions. The program’s greatest achievements include 200 surgeries in a day and more than 1,000 dogs vaccinated in one day.
The program integrates high standards of animal welfare and effective technology. More than 90 percent of dogs in this program are caught by hand, reducing the stress and trauma caused by net or tong catching. Using GPS technology, the dogs are returned to the exact location where they were caught. A record of each sterilized dog is maintained in a database, including a photograph. A survey to assess the success and impact of the program will be conducted this year in April and later between September and November on pre-determined routes.
With one year remaining in the program, HSI/India plans to open new sterilization centers in Jind and Bhiwani to increase their outreach and to sterilize an additional 50,000 dogs and vaccinate another 180,000.
Media Contact: Chetasi Kane, firstname.lastname@example.org, +91 9825811190