Animal Care Section of Tibet Charity joined Animal Birth Control initiative by the village heads at Spiti valley from 15th October to 19th October 2013 along with Animal Husbandry Department, the Forest Department, Animal Rescue Dharamsala and locally active NGOs like the Kaza Welfare Society and the Nature Conservation Foundation.
In view of the growing population of stray dogs in Spiti valley and the menace they cause, there has been a call for action from across villages, in the valley. The greatest damage, so far, has been the damage caused to livestock – some villagers have stopped rearing small-bodied livestock (sheep and goat, mainly). There have also been reports of damage to wild animals including blue sheep and snow leopard. Kaza has also seen a rise in incidents of dog bites.
Studies carried out in the valley point to a dog population in the range of 650-750 dogs, with approximately 77% of this population concentrated in the towns of Kaza and Rangrik. Given the rising concern over this matter, a collected effort was carried out in Kaza to conduct an Animal Birth Control camp.
The Kaza Panchayat (Village level administration) guided the operations at the camp:
- Kaza town was divided into 3 blocks and residents in each block were requested to bring, at least, one stray dog for sterlisation on a pre-decided day.
- Two volunteers were identified within each block took the responsibility of scheduling the operations of the dogs within the block.
- The set up for the operations were maintained and run by local volunteers along with staff from the Nature Conservation Foundation. All operations were carried out by doctors of the Animal Husbandry Department and from the doctors from Animal Rescue, Dharamshala and Tibet’s Charity (4 doctors, in all).
- After the operation, each dog was taken back by the person bringing it in and was responsible for taking care of the dog for at least the next 4 days (as requested by the Kaza Panchayat).
- All dogs were treated humanely at the camp:
- All male dogs were sterlised and given rabies shots.
- Some females were sterlised (several were pregnant), but all were given rabies shots.
- Pups were given rabies shots.
The camp was carried out in three separate towns of Spiti – Kaza, Quilling and Kibber. By the end of it, we sterlised over 100 dogs and vaccinated over 175 dogs for rabies.
While this camp was largely successful, controlling the dog population will require for the initiative to continue, even if at a smaller scale. However, we need to focus on large camps at least twice a year, and to be carried out in Kaza and all other towns.
The entire programme was co-financed by the Panchayat, the local administration and involved NGOs.