In a measure taken to curb increasing number of dog bites, the Muvattupuzha municipality in Kerala’s Ernakulam district has made it mandatory for dog owners to procure a license for permission.
The process though is fairly easy. If you are a new dog owner, you would have to fill out a form, deposit Rs. 300 with a picture of your canine friend and get a licence.
Last week, the Kerala government had faced flak from activists over its drive to cull street dogs. Government data shows that about 70 per cent of the 1.6 lakh dog bites are from abandoned pet dogs. Therefore, the local body’s move to issue licences is aimed at holding the owners accountable.
“We have had an incident where one dog has even bitten 30 times. Majority of the problems arise from abandoned pet dogs whose owners who disown after they discover issues with their dog. While street dogs will be vaccinated, licence for owning pet dogs will be made compulsory,” Babu, chairman of the Muvattupuzha municipal council was quoted as saying on NDTV.
There have been 30 cases of dog bites in the last two months in the relatively small municipality alone.
“I was bitten terribly, the dog wasn’t leaving me. I had to eventually press him by his neck down to get myself off his grip. The owner had the courage to ask for his dog back, but did not even offer help to me,” says Anil Kumar, who was bitten by a pet dog last month. The whole village had to convince the owner to pay for his medical expenses.
Meanwhile, some dog owners have also welcomed the license move.
“This is a welcome step. This will ensure that the dogs are taken care of responsibly,” Mathew K John, a dog owner told NDTV.