Islamabad hosts the first dog population center in the country

Islamabad: Even though killing dogs is unethical and violates their rights, the Capital Development Authority (CDA) has constructed Pakistan’s first stray dog population control center.

The facility on Park Road in Tarlai can house over 500 canines. In addition, areas for play, rest, a surgical unit, a vaccination center, and a laboratory have been designated at the center.

The center was launched on Saturday by CDA Chairman Mohammad Usman Younis, the chief commissioner of Islamabad.

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Before a decade, wives of foreign diplomats in Islamabad began a campaign advocating that dogs should be spayed rather than slaughtered to prevent reproduction. They also fed stray dogs and believed that if a dog were neutered, it would eventually go from the neighborhood because they were territorial and never allowed strangers to enter their territory.

According to the chairman of the CDA, no animal mistreatment would be tolerated.

Faryal Nawaz, a co-founder of Help Welfare Organization (HWO), an Islamabad-based organization that provides rescue services for stray and wild animals, filed a writ petition in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) in December 2018 demanding that the practice of shooting and poisoning healthy stray dogs by the CDA and MCI’s sanitation directorate was inhumane, in violation of the Constitution, laws, and Islamic principles, and should be halted.

The sanitation directorate allegedly killed hundreds of stray dogs in the residential districts of Islamabad each year with shotguns or poison because they posed a nuisance and health risk to the inhabitants.

The petition utilized World Health Organization (WHO) reports backing its claim that killing dogs does not lessen the danger of rabies and other infections but can be counterproductive and increase health concerns.

According to the WHO’s rabies guidelines, no evidence that is killing dogs alone has ever significantly reduced stray dog population densities or prevented the spread of rabies. Instead, the World Health Organization suggested widespread canine vaccination initiatives as the most efficient method of rabies control.

Chairman of the CDA, Usman Younis, stated that Islamabad was the only city in Pakistan where such a center had been constructed.

He reported that complaints of dog attacks had been received from various districts of Islamabad, mainly rural areas. However, there was no lasting resolution. Therefore, the center has been formed due to the current CDA administration’s unique interest.

He noted that both human and animal rights are safeguarded in industrialized nations.

He stated that the CDA administration desired to ensure no animal cruelty and that the situation was rectified. Civil society plays a crucial role in this context, and the CDA administration developed this center in partnership with them, he stated.

He suggested that the civil society share their experiences with the CDA to make the center more effective in achieving the desired outcomes.

He instructed the officers of the relevant departments to make the center excellent so that it might serve as an example for the nation.

It should be ensured that no citizen’s pet is targeted by dog catchers throughout their operations, but action should only be taken in response to complaints.

Similarly, the relevant departments’ officials were instructed to create suitable SOPs for dog catchers. In addition, detailed SOPs were developed for keeping dogs in the center.