By: Hema Dogra
Shimla: Are the stray dogs in a backward village panchayat of Himachal Pradesh less loveable than the ones in cities or are the former lesser an issue for all those animal rights activists. Hats off to those, who expect the stray dogs in Renuka and Dadahu Panchayats of Sirmour district to walk into a veterinary hospital on their own and narrate to the doctors that the 100 per cent dogs in the area are under severe attack of a serious skin infection.
With the dogs itching away to intense trauma, hair-loss and dry crusty skin lesions, the humans too are not in a safe zone as most of the stray dogs share an easy proximity to the pets in the village Panchayats of these areas.
The locals report that year after year, all dogs in Khala Kyar Panchayat – famous for the picturesque Renuka lake and the Parshuram temple – and in Dahau Panchayat under Nahan block acquire this disease. Annually, many tourists flock Renuka and due to its religious relevance many come in contact with these dogs while feeding them.
While government functionaries safely wash their hands off the issue and surprisingly, Society for Protection of Animals (SPCA) also puts up lame excuses. Though no one has ever detected the cause of the infection, Neeru Shabnam, Member Secretary SPCA at Nahan, fears (on the basis of guesswork) the disease to be Scabies.
What prevents the SPCA to help these dogs? “Sitting 40 kilometres away from Renuka, how would we know what is happening there? The Panchayats, where this problem prevails, should pass a resolution inviting us to help, only after which we can act. Either the local animal husbandry staff should apprise us of the situation,” Shabnam says.
Interestingly, Dr. Sachin Bedi the veterinary doctor at Dadahu says it should be the other way round.
Four years ago when the infection had started to spread to the pet dogs in these panchayats, the villagers had resorted to killing the infected dogs, says M S Negi, Panchayat Officer. Shame! Dog Lovers.