The government intends to spend a staggering Rs. 100 million to control the growing stray dog population through a countrywide vaccination and sterilization programme. The project got underway last week.
The initial programme will be implemented around hospitals and healthcare institutions with plans to cover the other places subsequently.
Health Ministry last year reported 730,000 cases of dog bites, approximately 2,000 bites per day. The government spends about Rs 14,500 to treat a single victim. A senior official said that Rs 500 million is set aside for treatment alone on annually.
`This is a staggering cost. We now plan to control growth of the dog population through a sterilization programme. This would help tackle the problem,` Ministry spokesman said.
The estimated stray dog population in the country is 2.5 million.
As part of a legal framework for proper maintenance of pet dogs, a regulation for responsible pet ownership under the Rabies Control Act would be introduced shortly, he said.