There are nearly 1,197 stray dogs in the municipal area of Palakkad district in Kerala. It is also estimated that when no stray dog control measures are undertaken by the various civic bodies, there could be up to 25 percent yearly increase in the numbers of stray dogs. Increasing numbers of stray dogs pose significant safety threat to both humans and domestic livestock and hence, mass killings of stray dogs by the public happens at times.
We intended to examine the magnitude of threat to public safety from the bites of stray dogs in the l area.
For the same, we undertook surveys and collected data from print and visual media on all reported cases of stray dog bites from January 2015 till date.
Over the last ten-month period, nearly 3800 humans and 459 domestic animals were reported to have suffered stray dog bites in the municipal area. In humans, males (60%) suffered more bites than females (40%). Compared to humans, in animals, the number of reported bite cases is severely underestimated, mainly because of the poor surveillance systems for recording animal casualties. Most of the reported animal cases were in domestic goats and only a lesser number were in domestic cows and dogs.
Unless the local civic bodies undertake adequate measures to control the numbers of stray dogs, changing the public perception as well as opinion against the mass killings will remain an uphill task.