While packs of street dogs howling at night are annoying for those of us trying to sleep, there are more serious issues about their presence that need addressing: overpopulation and rabies.
Neither are a new phenomenon, but Bhaktapur Municipality’s approach to the problem is. Instead of poisoning them, it is taking a more humane approach to eradicate rabies and control the dog population.
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The canine squad wakes up early in Gahiti of Bhaktapur, as they lure female dogs into the truck with biscuits. They also keep their eyes peeled for unvaccinated males. The team is a mix of uniformed officials, volunteers, and vets, who are combing the streets as part of the Sanitation Department’s Street Dog Sterilisation and Anti-Rabies Vaccination Campaign.
Complaints of locals and tourists being bitten or attacked by strays are serious. Two-hundred deaths per year are attributed to rabies, and the number is rising. There are about 35,000 courses of shots distributed each year. The treatment for rabies comes at a serious cost too: Rs2,000 per course of four injections.