Residents and doctors in Srinagar are quite frustrated by the large number of stray dogs on the city's streets, with 4,500 dog bite cases recorded by the main SMHS hospital here last year.
Two people bitten by rabid dogs died in the last two months. 'The situation is alarming. We receive 5-10 cases of dog bites every day. In some cases the victims are suspected to have been bitten by rabid dogs,' said Shafqat Khan, health officer of the Srinagar Municipal Corporation.
'Most of these dog bites are because the stray dog population has exploded in the last few years,' Khan told IANS.
Doctors at the department of social and preventive medicine here say they don't have adequate facilities or finances for the sterilization of thousands of dogs that roam freely on the streets.
Doctors also complain about the shortage of anti-rabies vaccines in Jammu and Kashmir. Left with little option, the municipal authorities have adopted dog eradication programmes to check the menace.
'We eradicated over 6,200 dogs last year. We plan to reduce the population of stray dogs in the city by three times this year. This programme will begin by next month,' said Syed Haque Nawaz, the municipal commissioner.
The municipal authorities have also taken up the issue of dog eradication with the security forces.
Apart from Srinagar, dog bite victims from Baramulla, Anantnag and Badgam districts also come to Srinagar's SMHS hospital, the Kashmir valley's only major facility for treating such patients.