Thursday, 24 November 2011

Dog catchers scoff at corpn’s 50 incentive

CHENNAI: The corporation has decided to double the dog catchers' incentive to 50 in a move to encourage them to round up more dogs for sterilization. More contract workers may be roped into " Operation Stray Dog".

Corporation officials and animal activists agree that thorough sterilization of community dogs is the most humane way of getting orphaned dogs off the streets. "Blue Cross's sterilization drive has been been one of the most successful in the country. Last year alone we sterilized over 9,500 dogs. So, if the corporation too continues its drive, stray dogs can definitely be controlled," said Chinny Krishna, vice-chairman, Animal Welfare Board of India .

Dog catchers though are not too happy with the corporation's initiative for the purpose. The civic body's dog squad captures and sterilizes at least 1,200 dogs a month. The squad consists of 19 people, including 15 on contract. "The whole system of paying us per dog is unfair. We asked for a permanent monthly salary, not a hike in the incentive," said Ananthakrishnan who has been working with the squad for the last 18 years. 

Animal activists too feel that corporation officials should improve the current employees' conditions and increase funds for better infrastructure before looking at roping in more contract employees or private catchers. "The men currently have work for only about 2 or 3 hours a day," said an animal rights activist .

The employees are also frustrated with the lack of basic facilities given to the squad. "The officers have not replaced the ropes we use to catch the dogs. We buy new ropes with our own meagre salary every few months," said another worker Bhaskar. After sterilization. the dogs are returned to their original habitat by a private NGO. 

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