In March 2023, a 55-year-old woman who rode pillion on her son’s bike was injured when the duo were chased by street dogs and attempted to escape from them. She passed away a week later. There have been reports of more injuries to individuals as a result of street dogs in Chennai in recent months.
Such incidents have prompted heated debates between those affected by street dogs in the city and animal welfare activists who seek better treatment of street and community dogs in Chennai.
Residents and activists have both pointed out failures in street dog management by the civic body. Complaints range from lack of maintenance of accurate data on the street dog population to gaps in the Animal Birth Control programme (ABC) that have led to a growth in the street dog population in the city.
Read more: Pets in Chennai: How a welfare association is addressing key community concerns
Managing street dogs in Chennai
While debates rage across WhatsApp groups and social media on street dog management, understanding the root cause of the increase in the street dog population is essential to tackling the issue in a humane manner.
The civic body has taken some measures to address issues caused due to the growing number of street dogs. Chennai has so far managed to sterilise 20,530 street dogs across the city in 2022-2023. New Animal Birth Control Centres have begun operations in the past month, with three existing centres also undergoing upgrades and renovation.
But issues still persist. The absence of a robust census of the street dog population in the city has hampered planning and management. In addition to this questions have been raised on the veracity of the data gathered by the civic body. Residents have also complained of dogs not being sterilised or dogs being returned to other areas instead of where they had been picked up for sterilisation.
These problems compound the conflict between street dogs and residents in Chennai.
Citizen Matters brings together a panel of experts to understand scientific and sustainable solutions to street dog management in Chennai and how residents can participate in the process.
Date April 28, Friday
Time: 6 pm – 7 pm
The discussion will be held over Zoom and live-streamed on our YouTube channel.
A summary of the discussion will be shared on the website, and the recording will be available on YouTube.
Read more: Stray dogs and the Animal Birth Control programme in Chennai
Dr P Kuganantham, former City Health Officer, Greater Chennai Corporation
Dr P Kuganantham is a Consultant, Social Medicines and infectious diseases at SIMS Hospitals Chennai, Member, COVID-19 Expert Committee and Honorary Dean at Rojavanam Institute of Medical Sciences and Research. He was also the former City Health Officer of the Greater Chennai Corporation.
Shruti Vinodh Raj, Honorary Member of the Tamil Nadu Animal Welfare Board
Shruti is currently part of the Animal Birth Control Monitoring Committee for the Greater Chennai Corporation and an honorary member of the Tamil Nadu Animal Welfare Board. She has been rescuing animals since she was 10 years old and believes in rescue, rehab, treatment and release.
Shravan Krishnan, Animal Rights Activist
Shravan is a prominent animal rights activist in Chennai. He is the founder of Hotel For Dogs. He also runs the Besant Memorial Animal Dispensary.
Badrinath M P, Resident, Kottur Gardens
Badrinath is a resident of Kottur Gardens in Chennai.