The DSCC mayor asks animal welfare activists to generate ideas to stop free roaming of the street dogs
Saying relocation of street dogs is not his goal, Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) Mayor Fazle Noor Taposh has pledged to work with the animal rights activists to address the issue and come up with a proper solution.
Seeking help from the activists, he said on Tuesday: "Brainstorm some ideas or a strategy to sort out the problem as relocating street dogs is not my vision."
His call came during a meeting with the activists at his DSCC office at Nagar Bhaban.
Taposh said they will not relocate the dogs that are identified as community dogs or the dogs that are looked after by someone.
“There are many people who are looking after some of the street dogs and giving them food. If you identify those dogs, we will not relocate them,” he added.
After the meeting, PAW Foundation Founder Rakibul Haq Emil said: “Although the mayor did not specifically pledge to stop relocating the dogs, we received a positive message from him.”
He said their goal was protecting the dogs from any kind of physical harm and the mayor’s goal can be achieved. But he feared the process to do so may be time consuming.
The mayor, Emil said, promised to meet the activists once a week if needed to implement his plan, with the aim to turn Dhaka into a city like Singapore or any other in a European country with no stray dogs roaming freely.
Representatives of 12 animal rights groups attended the two-hour meeting that started around 2:30pm Tuesday. They also made a 25-minute presentation apart from joining the discussion, which was also attended by Dhaka Tribune Editor Zafar Sobhan and prominent actor Jaya Ahsan among others.
The presentation said garbage is always littered in the open around the city, which becomes a source for food for the dogs. It also highlighted what harms dogs may be subjected to if they face an ineffective method of relocation.
At the time, Mayor Taposh argued that there would be no garbage out in the open within a year, eventually making the stray dogs leave the city.
Interestingly, the mayor, hinting at the relocation being halted for the time being, said that dogs that are old and sick and also infected with rabies will be removed.
To this end, the activists said they have no objections.
Obhoyaronno Chairman Rubaiya Ahmad said just a single sitting would not resolve the issue.
“Then again, the mayor agreed with us as to how his goal can be achieved without harming the dogs. At the next meeting, we’ll discuss a strategy and how to control the random movement of street dogs,” she said.
Rubaiya said it would be better if the dogs are sterilized and the city corporation does garbage management properly, since many dogs are reportedly being relocated to the Matuail landfill.
The DSCC mayor urged the activists to take initiatives so that more people may take responsibility for street dogs and adopt them as pets.
Taposh said: “Our main goal is to make Dhaka a developed city. There are no street dogs on the open roads, parks, playgrounds in any developed country.
“We also want to take Dhaka to that level, to build it as a developed city. Let us all work together towards that goal.”