Islamabad city authorities have decided to ban the inhumane culling of dogs and to begin spay, neuter and vaccination programmes.
The decision was taken in a meeting held on Monday at the Capital Development Authority (CDA) headquarters attended by Chief Commissioner Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) and CDA Chairman Amer Ali Ahmed, Deputy Commissioner (DC) Hamza Shafqaat, other city officials as well as members of the animal welfare groups.
No more Dog Shootings
There will be no more dog shootings in Islamabad, DC Islamabad Hamza Shafqaat told media. The officials have decided that municipal by-laws will be amended to remove the clause stating elimination of dogs and that the CDA and Islamabad city administration in collaboration with animal welfare groups will work to spay, neuter and vaccinate stray dogs.
The city administration would also collaborate with non-profit organisations such as Rabies Free Pakistan, Animals Birth Control and pet lovers to make Islamabad a rabies-free city, the CDA chairman said.
Fear of Rabies
Rabies is one of the oldest fatal zoonotic diseases (transmitted from animals to human) that kills nearly 60,000 people worldwide each year of which more than half are in South and Southeast Asia.
In Pakistan, the number of cases is believed to be around 2,000 to 5,000. Pakistan, India and Bangladesh belong to the top five rabies endemic countries of the world due to low vaccination coverage of both people and stray dogs in the region, studies suggest.
Sterilisation, vaccination and tagging of dogs have proven to be the most effective way of controlling dog populations worldwide. Such sporadic campaigns have been initiated in Islamabad, Karachi and Peshawar in the last years but could not be sustained.
Health officials estimate that more than 70 per cent of street dogs need to be sterilised and vaccinated to halt the spread of the disease.
All major global animal welfare organisations advocate Animal Birth Control (ABC) through Trap, Neuter and Release (TNR) method under which strays are to be captured, sterilised, vaccinated, tagged and then released into the same area from where they were captured.