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An Anti-rabies Campaign With Bite

herwise forbidden zone of the PFA-run dog pound off E.M. Bypass offers a pleasant sight. Rows of cages where at least 325 dogs can be accommodated look relatively sanitised and the animals are treated with a lot of care.

PFA's veterinary doctor has conducted over 12,000 surgeries since 2002 as part of its ABC (Animal Birth Control) programme.

The West Bengal figure on rabies deaths is 162 in the year 2005, as provided by state joint secretary of public health S.N. Dutta quoting records of Kolkata's Infectious Diseases (ID) hospital, though he admits that the real figure could be much higher.

Though the West Bengal health department per se is not averse to the idea of vaccinating dogs against rabies, it feels the initiative should be taken by the state veterinary department.

"If the veterinary department wants funds from us we would provide the same. We already fund the vasectomy of stray dogs," Dutta told IANS.

According to Dutta, anti-rabies injections like Rabipol or Rabirix are distributed free among people who are BPL (below the poverty line) but the vaccines are not adequate to meet the demand.

"We offer the injections in two hospitals in Kolkata. But I must admit that the total production of the vaccine is not enough to meet the total number of patients who come to hospitals with dog bites," he said.

Dutta said even if dogs were vaccinated, a victim of bite would not know which dog was vaccinated and which was not.

But Chakrabarti differed.

"We have an extensive programme in every locality. Each dog that we sterilise or vaccinate is ear-clipped. We call it ear-notching so that we can keep track of the vaccination," he stated.

"For so many years we have been working to raise our own funds. PFA Calcutta is a flagship project of PFA nationwide and has set an example in animal management," said Chakrabarti.

He also said: "I have no fait
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