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FIAPOs Rabies Free India Campaign to implement holistic human-dog coexistence formula

19 Aug 2019 | by | Posted in: Wag News

Free roaming dogs can be seen in every city, sharing sidewalks, market places, parks and residential colonies with people. These homeless dogs rely on their natural instincts to survive and carve a space for themselves in cities bustling with people.

They are the rightful residents of the place they are born in. However, due to poor implementation of the ABC (Dogs) rules, their population has reached close to 20 million in the country. Lack of knowledge about dog bite prevention and fear about rabies has resulted in a continuous conflict between people and street dogs.

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Through the Rabies Free India Programme, Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations (FIAPO) is trying to develop a positive relationship between animals and human beings. Millions of stray dogs live on the streets of India and are definitely an integral part of Indias landscape. India's street dogs are not aggressive at all and will only bite if provoked unnecessarily. Unfortunately, fear and ignorance have led many Indian citizens and officials to see street dogs as nothing but a nuisance and to seek eradication using inhumane methods such as poisoning beating, relocating. But for every dog killed, another typically comes in to take over that dog's territory. Clearly relocating or killing dog is not the solution.

While we work with governments to make the ABC programme more efficient, we also recognise that the fear of dogs wont go away by having fewer dogs around. Rabies Free India addresses this lacuna and aims to create a dog-bite and rabies-free society through a multidimensional approach.

In Kerala, education programmes on dog-bite and rabies prevention have led to a comprehensive improvement in students knowledge about rabies, and a major positive shift in the physical manner in which students approached dogs. Led by a team of 3 regional coordinators, the programme has reached 1200 children in just 2 months.

With our RFI programme, we focus entirely on the scientific and humane method to curb the dog population and at the same time educate people about dog bite prevention and rabies. We try to end human- dog conflicts through our multiple pronged approach which has both animal and human health component. The five major components of the Programme are plotted below-

  1. Animal Birth Control (ABC)-Overpopulation of street dogs has been an issue that societies have dealt with. For the sake of public health and safety and the quality of life in a community, we push local government to start an effective Animal Birth Control Programme in a city. It is mandatory to follow the ABC guidelines of AWBI , have an authorised monitoring committee to ensure smooth running of the programme. Through ABC programs, all the dogs within a community or region are neutered and vaccinated and then released back to their territories.
  2. Anti-Rabies Vaccination (ARV)- The Indian dog population is as high as 25 million. But only 15-20 percent of the dogs are vaccinated in the country. If we want to stop rabies and eradicate the fear among people attached to it. One of the most effective way to do it is to start a mass ARV programme in the city and vaccinate atleast 90% of the dogs. With the help of local NGOs and activists we push government for mass ARV programmes at regular intervals for all street dogs in a society.
  3. Education Lack of education tends to keep human deprived of compassion for these voiceless and they are not able to enjoy the wonderful companionship of these dogs Education on dog bite prevention and rabies should be a part of every state/ city. This will decrease the incidence ofhuman rabiesas well as the financial, physical and psychological burden of getting treatments for dog bites. We push the local government (Education Board) to start education programme in schools and colleges. We even encourage and guide local NGOs to conduct education programmes in schools and colleges in their own capacity.
  4. Post-Bite Counselling- An attack by dogs or a dog bite can be traumatic because it is often a sudden, unpredictable, random act of violence. A dog bite can generate enough negative sentiments on a person, who can even go to the extent of beating or killing that particular dog. Our goal of counselling a Dog bite victim is to encourage and normalize the patient and provide emotional support so that he can quickly recuperate from the trauma. We try to set up counselling centres in few major government hospitals in a city so that the patients are first of all given all the emotional support and sympathy and most importantly they are informed and educated of the different ways of avoiding dog bites in future.
  5. Onsite First Aid and effective Community Building - For any first aid programme to run successfully in a city, we need the support of the local people which includes dedicated and a strong network of volunteers and community caretakers. Having an effective community can contribute immensely towards ending human-animal conflicts. We train volunteers to provide basic first aid help to street dogs suffering from any injury or illness. This is a very easy mechanism to help the animals in distress and a great way to involve the community people in your work. It is of utmost importance to communicate with the local people during any onsite first aid treatment. This model has really worked for us in places where there were hardly anyone working for the animals. We have successfully formed a network of volunteers who took first aid training and have been wonderfully taking care of the animals in their areas.

The rapidly growing street dog population does not only lead to conflict with humans but it is also very sad for the homeless animals who endure daily hardships and often violent human behaviour to survive.Rabies Free India programme particularly focuses on these 5 components, and only if they are implemented in a city, there would not be any human dog conflict, which is our ultimate and long-term goal.

 

About FIAPO - FIAPO is India's apex animal protection organization. As the collective voice of the animal protection movement in India, FIAPO is the catalyst that protects the interests of animals on local and national levels - through education, research, lobbying, mobilization, networking, training and direct action. Created for the movement, by the movement, FIAPO is Indias only national federation. It has over 130 members and 200 supporter organisations across the country.

Visit http://www.fiapo.org/fiaporg/ to learn more.

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