DHARWAD—On the occasion of World Dog Day, the Department of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Services (AH&VS) at Dharwad, Dharwad division of the Karnataka Forest Department and Humane Society International/India (HSI/India), an animal protection organisation, joined hands to conduct a vaccination camp to vaccinate dogs in Dopenatti village.
With the village bordering a reserve forest, chances of zoonotic disease transmission from owned and feral dogs to wild canids is relatively high. Periodic vaccination drives against common diseases such as rabies is vital for the health and well-being of the dogs themselves, people around them as well as wild animals in the region. As a part of this camp, dogs were vaccinated against rabies and a host of other commonly seen diseases such as canine distemper, parvoviral enteritis and leptospirosis.
Dr Vineeta Poojary, program manager of Veterinary Sciences, HSI/India said: “The concept of regularly vaccinating your companion animals is often lacking in most parts of the country. While vaccination of livestock is still done as they are production animals, dogs are often ignored – especially in rural areas. It is a known fact that dogs do venture into protected areas and often come in conflict and contact with wild animals. While only vaccinating them will not resolve the issue, it is definitely an important tool to achieve it. We are very grateful to the respective government agencies for collaborating with us for the same”
A recent study based on camera trapping data showed more dogs than tigers in core areas of 17 tiger reserves across the country. Experts believe that presence of dogs in a forest landscape leads to competition between wild animal and domestic dogs for resources. Further, a study conducted in 2017 demonstrated that domestic dogs contributed to 11 vertebrate extinctions and pose a risk to at least 188 threatened species worldwide.
Shri Yashpal Kshirsagar IFS, Deputy Conservator of Forests, Dharwad division said: “While we recognize the threats posed by proximity between domestic animals and wildlife in terms of disease transmission, we would like to explore sustainable and humane solutions to this conflict. We are happy that the Department of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Services has come forward to join hands with us for this initiative. We would also like to thank Humane Society International/India for coordinating and helping execute this camp with their resources and expertise.”
Dr Parameshwar Naik, Deputy Director, AH&VS, Dharwad said: “Disease surveillance, monitoring and prevention of zoonotic diseases is the need of the hour as demonstrated by the on-going COVID-19 pandemic. In this regard, we are happy to collaborate with the Karnataka Forest Department and Humane Society International/India to conduct this mass vaccination camp. To further aid in management of conflict between domestic dogs and wild animals, more stringent policies on responsible pet ownership is required.”
HSI/India in Dharwad and Gadag districts has been working over the last two years in building capacity of various government agencies on animal welfare, helping animals in times of disasters and providing training to several interested individuals in the district on first-aid for animals in distress.
***Keeping with the precautions that one needs to be mindful of with the COVID 19 pandemic, the organizers will be distributing face masks to all attendees. Further precautions such as physical distancing norms and sanitization of the premises and staff/volunteers will be done at regular intervals.
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