In 2016, the street dog density and public complaints about dog nuisance in Dehradun was high. In response, the Dehradun Municipal cooperation introduced a humane Animal Birth Control program (ABC) in collaboration with Humane Society International. An assessment of the dog population and dynamics was conducted in multiple ways, including a street dog survey, participatory meetings and a household survey. The foundations for DPM were in place and the DPM services were chosen according to the assessment findings.

Program planning and implementation

The program is set out to include different DPM services to ensure that all dogs in the population are included in the program. Reproduction control and community engagement are the focus.  Communities participate and own the program to improve the relationship between humans and dogs (street and owned). CNVR (Catch, neuter, vaccinate and return) with female dogs as the focus was chosen as the primary reproduction control intervention as most street dogs are unowned. Holding facilities, designed by HSI to accommodate our humane handling protocol, were provided by the municipal cooperation and are used for all veterinary activities. Community engagement follows the Abhay Sankalp approach (see case study ‘Abhay Sankalp: A sustainable solution to human-dog conflict for improved human-dog relationships’); this campaign empowers communities to develop and manage their dog populations and dog issues by themselves with the help of community leaders and HSI. Ongoing monitoring and evaluation of the program ensures that the program stays objective driven and impact can be assessed for both CNVR and community engagement activities.

Results after two and half years

Dogs that went through the ABC program were marked with an ear notch. The ear notch has multiple benefits, of which one is that monitoring surveys can estimate the proportion of sterilized dogs in the population. The sterilization efforts resulted in 65.8% sterilized female roaming dogs in the first year and by May 2019, it had reached 76.1% of the female population. This resulted in a 35.6% decrease in dog density over 2.5 years, measured by the total number of dogs seen on surveys along standard routes. This fast decline in dog density is a clear indicator that the program is achieving its primary objective. The project has a large volunteer group who participates in the community events and the number of residential societies signing up to the Dehradun Abhay Sankalp campaign is growing.