Facility was set up in 2019
The Animal Birth Control (ABC) Centre of the Kozhikode Corporation, set up in 2019, has sterilised 7,000 stray dogs so far. The number could have been 8,000 or more if not for the constant shutdowns due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
“In the last two years, we had to shut down the centre completely at least four times. All our 13 staff members were infected at least once and four of them were infected twice,” said V. Sreeshma, the Corporation’s Veterinary Officer, who is also the coordinator of the ABC project.
When the ABC Centre-cum-Veterinary Hospital began functioning at Poolakkadavu on the outskirts of the city about two years ago, there was public opposition to the practice of releasing sterilised dogs back in the neighbourhood from where they were captured. In the first four months, the centre crossed the mark of 1,000 sterilisations.
However, complaints from the public have not stopped. “We get at least a dozen calls a day from the public, asking us to pick up street dogs from their neighbourhood. We can pick up only around 20 dogs at a time and after sterilisation and rabies vaccination they are let out in the same neighbourhood, which in effect does not reduce the stray dog population in that particular neighbourhood immediately,” said Dr. Sreeshma, adding that it took at least five years to see the effects of the ABC project.
A survey conducted by the Kozhikode Corporation with the help of the National Service Scheme in 2018 identified 13,500 dogs in the city. “The centre was opened a year after the survey and the number of street dogs in the city must have multiplied in the meantime. I estimate there are around 20,000 street dogs in the city at present, which may take another couple of years to cover,” said Dr. Sreeshma.
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