In the last one and a half months, the DSCC has evicted stray dogs from Shahjahanpur, Motijheel, and Dholaipar areas in Dhaka, and sent them to the Matuail landfill site, based on complaints from citizens
The Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) has been continuing its stray dog relocation program despite public outrage and protests by animal welfare groups.
In the last one and a half months, the DSCC has evicted stray dogs from Shahjahanpur, Motijheel, and Dholaipar areas in Dhaka, and sent them to the Matuail landfill site, DSCC officials confirmed to Dhaka Tribune.
Talking to Dhaka Tribune, DSCC CEO ABM Amin Ullah Nuri said: “We have been continuing the relocation program based on complaints received from citizens. We have received complaints of stray dogs biting people in those three areas.”
Dogs with no identification
Talking to Dhaka Tribune, Binita Afroz Surovi, who once owned five dogs, said her pet dogs were tranquilized and picked up on a city corporation truck when the five came out of their house in Dholaipar in the early hours of October 12.
“I have been nurturing dogs for the last seven years. Every morning at 7am, my five pet dogs – Jack, Kali, Mithu, Caramel, and Rambo – used to go out of the house to relieve themselves. They went out and returned home on their own in the morning and in the evening. They were well trained,” she said.
When asked how she got to know that her dogs were taken by the city corporation officials, Surovi said: “Everyone in the area knew my dogs. They did not live or roam on the streets. They lived in my house. We were informed by the locals soon after the dogs were picked up.
“I went to the spot and saw my dogs being cramped in a car with Dhaka South City Corporation written on it. When I told them to stop and release my dogs, they told me that they were from the city corporation and were there to take away the dogs as they had received complaints against them,” she added.
The next day, Surovi went to Matuail landfill site with her husband to look for her dogs. However, the couple -- like many others who had visited the area for the past few days with hopes of finding their lost dogs -- was prevented from entering the site by Ansar personnel.
“There is no point in looking here, please go from here,” the Ansar man told Surovi and her husband.
However, Surovi secretly managed to enter the landfill with help from two cleaners. There were some dogs, but none of them were hers. One of her dogs was pregnant and was expected to deliver next month.
“I broke into tears when the cleaners told me that all the dogs brought in there were buried under the garbage.”
Surovi still did not lose hope.
“I didn't believe it, because my two-year-old Rambo came back home alone on that morning. I still had hopes that the rest will manage to find their way back home on their own. I'm still looking for them in neighboring areas.
“I don't want to go to the city corporation or any animal welfare organization for this. But, I will say that this is an inhuman move by DSCC,” she said in a saddened voice.
However, DSCC Chief Executive Officer ABM Amin Ullah Nuri rejected Surovi’s complaints and claimed that no pets were picked up during the relocation.
“It is true that we have already removed some dogs from Dholakhal. However, there were no pet dogs. I can say for sure that the dogs in the alleged incident did not have at least one belt around their necks. A pet dog would not be on the streets. And, we took action there after receiving complaints from that area,” he said.
“As we have said before, dogs carrying even minimum identification will not be picked up. I would also like to tell animal lovers to feed biscuits and nurture their dogs inside their houses. They can take their dogs out for a walk with them, no problem with that. But, do not leave your dogs unattended,” the DSCC CEO said.
Although Surovi did confirm that her dogs were not wearing belts, she asserted that her dogs were not dangerous and were vaccinated properly.
Protests could not stop the relocation
PAW Founding Chairman Raqibul Haque Emil said: “We [animal rights campaigners] sat for a meeting with Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) Mayor Fazle Noor Taposh on September 29, where we discussed the controversial relocation of stray dogs in the capital.
“We got a positive vibe from the mayor. It seemed he would hold off the relocation activities for a month and expressed hope that he would be able to resolve the issue.”
Earlier on September 27, the High Court adjourned the hearing on a writ petition seeking cancellation of a decision by Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) to relocate stray dogs.
On October 12, the High Court asked the Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) not to continue relocation of stray dogs from its area until further hearing of the writ petition filed to this effect.
The court also asked Attorney General AM Amin Uddin to ensure that stray dogs were not being relocated until further hearing of the petition.
The petitioners' lawyer said during the hearing on the petition, Attorney General AM Amin Uddin told the High Court that DSCC Mayor Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh was holding discussions with the stakeholders regarding the relocation program.
Emil further added: “If the mayor continues the relocation program, it will be absolutely illegal. We also raised this issue clearly during the meeting with the mayor and in the High Court.”
When asked, DSCC CEO ABM Amin Ullah Nuri said: “Not even once did the mayor mention stopping the stray dog relocation program. He told the campaigners to submit a written proposal within 21 days on how the issue can be solved. However, the campaigners did not submit any proposal during the given period.”
Asked on how many stray dogs have been relocated till now, DSCC CEO said the details in this regard were with the city corporation’s health department.
“We have not been instructed to provide any information in this regard,” the DSCC Health Department told Dhaka Tribune following the query.