Sindh High Court Wants Plan Approved for Dogs’ Sterilisation

The project aims at catching dogs and releasing them after the procedure. — The Indus Hospital/File
The project aims at catching dogs and releasing them after the procedure 

The Sindh High Court on Nov 7, 2019 directed the provincial authorities to ensure approval of the PC-I for a proposed project to retain dogs and release them after sterilisation and vaccination within 15 days and to notify a task force to help the local administration detain and control stray dogs.

The two-judge bench headed by Justice Mohammad Ali Mazhar also directed an additional secretary of the local government department to apprise the bench at the next hearing about what efforts had been made to release funds on the requisitions sent by district municipal corporations (DMCs) after the DMCs complained that funds had not been released yet.

It also directed all the executive officers of the cantonment boards to submit reports about efforts they were making for the protection of public from street dogs in their respective limits and also asked the secretary for health to maintain a proper inventory to ensure timely treatment of victims of dog bite.

When a petition about stray dogs and a shortage of anti-rabies vaccines (ARV) at all government-run hospitals in the province came up for hearing on Thursday, in compliance with the last order the additional secretary for the local government department placed comments before the court and said that the chief minister had been approached for the constitution of a task force for framework of law.

He further submitted that the local government department had also sent a letter to the chairperson of the planning and development board submitting the PC-I for a proposed project for fight against rabies and population control of street dogs.

An additional advocate general informed the bench that a notification for the constitution of a task force would be issued within two days and sought one month for the approval of the PC-I.

However, the bench observed that since the matter had grave importance in the larger public interest, all the persons concerned were directed to ensure the approval of PC-I within 15 days for further proceedings and development in the matter.

The health secretary has again given an inventory account of the ARV. As per the inventory details, 13,843 vaccines were available in 315 hospitals/medical centres of the province. A senior health officer of the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) submitted that they were also maintaining an inventory and providing vaccine to hospitals being run under the KMC’s supervision.

The representatives of all the six DMCs of the city submitted compliance reports and argued that they were making all possible efforts for detention and control of stray dogs. They attached some photographs with the reports.

The bench strictly directed the municipal commissioners of the six DMCs to continue their campaign to protect the public from stray dog-bite incidents.

Some lawyers have filed power for the Karachi Port Trust, Clifton, Faisal and Korangi cantonment boards, but nobody was present for Malir and Manora cantonments.

In the last hearing, the bench was informed that the municipal commissioners of the DMCs had sent requisitions for funds to the local government department as they were facing a shortage of funds. But on Thursday, they submitted that funds had not been released to the DMCs or KMC.

When the bench asked the additional secretary for local bodies about the delay in the release of funds, he requested for time to seek instructions from the LG secretary.

The bench directed the additional secretary to apprise it about what efforts had been made to release funds to the DMCs and KMC as again they had raised the plea of shortage of funds.

While adjourning the matter till Dec 4, the bench directed the additional advocate general to produce the notification of task force as well as approval of PC-I at the next hearing.

In Dec 2023, the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) agreed to provide six dog catcher vans to an animal welfare organisation to catch and neuter stray dogs. The matter had come up in a meeting chaired by Caretaker Chief Minister Justice (retd) Maqbool Baqar on addressing animal abuse in Karachi. During the discussions, KMC agreed to provide six vehicles to the Ayesha Chundrigar Foundation (ACF) for capturing and neutering stray dogs as part of a population control initiative. The Foundation had expressed its willingness to assist in dog neutering if provided with government-owned vans.

Attendees included KMC municipal commissioner, Karachi division commissioner, various secretaries, and representatives from organisations such as the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and ACF.

The meeting highlighted the Rabies Control Program’s efforts, with 20 vaccination centers established across the province to vaccinate 125,000 dogs by June 2025.

The municipal department specified the distribution of anti-rabies and vaccination centres in different districts.

Additionally, directives were given to evaluate and suggest improvements for Korangi Zoo, Karachi Zoo, and Safari Park.

Furthermore, instructions were issued to open a veterinary hospital on MA Jinnah Road for street animal treatment, with the Chief Minister expressing intent to visit the established camp.

The caretaker chief minister also directed the health department to ensure the availability of anti-rabies vaccine (ARV).

The health department told the CM that 2,955 vials of ARV packs of anti-hypertensive drugs are available in the open market. It said that the anti-rabies vaccine is an imported item. The National Institute of Health (NIH) Islamabad is the only institute throughout Pakistan which produces ARV.

The CM took up the matter with DRAP authorities and urged them to ensure timely approval of import letters so that patients may not suffer.

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