Chittagong City Corporation (CCC) is silently culling stray dogs in different areas of the city upon popular demand, though a High Court (HC) rule banned dog culling in 2014.
CCC sources said the corporation cannot kill dogs openly due to the HC ban; but the process is going on secretly in different areas.
The issue raised eyebrows when some pictures of dead dogs in Chittagong city went viral on the social media in the last two days.
Obhoyaronno-Bangladesh Animal Welfare Foundation in 2014 filed a writ petition with the HC, which later issued a rule banning dog culling, bullfight, cockfight and goat fight.
The Daily Star contacted a number of CCC councillors, who, on condition of anonymity, admitted that dog culling was going on confidentially in the city as the residents in different areas demanded that they do so.
“People in many areas always complain about the street dogs as those bite people on their way to offer Fajr prayers in mosques,” said a councillor, adding, “Students cannot go to schools fearing dogs.”
“What will we do? We cannot go for culling dogs openly and extensively due to a High Court order in this regard; we have to do so confidentially in some selected areas where the street dogs create a real nuisance,” he said.
Echoing the same, another councillor said the CCC was “compelled” to go for dog culling in some selective areas upon demand from the locals.
Locals and animal rights activists alleged that dozens of dogs were culled in different areas including Ghat Farhadbeg, Andarkilla, Agrabad Mistripara and North Kattoli in the last five days.
Mohammad Tipu, a resident of Mistripara, said people of CCC killed many dogs in the area on Tuesday by pushing injections. He, however, could not say the exact number of the dogs killed that day.
Sharif, another resident, said he heard the number of the killed dogs might be between 30 and 40.
About 10 to 12 dogs were also killed in Ghat Farhadbeg area on January 21, claimed Md Abdul Awal, a resident in Lalkahn Bazar area of the city.
Contacted, CCC Chief Health Officer Dr Selim Akter Chowdhury and Chief Conservancy Officer Sheikh Shafiqul Mannan Siddique brushed aside the allegations.
Such initiative by the CCC has raised concern among experts and animal rights activists.
Prof Kabirul Islam Khan of the Department of Genetics and Animal Breeding at Chittagong Veterinary and Animal Sciences University said culling of dogs is not the solution. “It is inhumane,” he said, adding, “Rather, making them (street dogs) 'sterile' is the effective solution to stop reproduction.”
Trisa Bhattacharjee, founder of the Rise for Paw -- an organisation working to save dogs and cats, said it is the “duty of CCC” to vaccinate dogs and make them sterile. Without making them sterile, the CCC started killing dogs, which is not only inhumane but also illegal, she said, claiming that around a hundred dogs had been culled in the last few days since January 21.
Contacted, CCC Mayor AJM Nasir Uddin said it is not the duty or responsibility of CCC to save people from the nuisance of dogs. “There is nothing like that mentioned in CCC's organogram,” he said, brushing aside the allegations of culling dogs by the CCC confidentially.
Contacted, former CCC mayor M Manjur Alam said he took an initiative for building a shelter for the street dogs in Bayezid Bostami Arefin Nagar area of the city after the 2014 HC order banning dog culling. But the project could not be completed as his tenure expired, he said.
Asked, Nasir said he did not know anything about the initiative. CCC is undergoing manpower crisis and it is not possible to take an initiative for building shelter for dogs at present, he added.