Ahmedabad mostly strikes as a typically upmarket urban agglomeration with a bustling mix of modernity and heritage. A flagship city of India, which houses over 80 million people, it has its roads packed to the brim with an eclectic mix of people and their myriad professional activities, 24×7. Ironically, these very roads of fame and glitter are infested with animals, making them the most unsafe for humans in all of Gujarat as far as animal attacks are concerned.
Of the total 2,656 individuals who have fallen victim to animal attacks in the last six months, the city of Ahmedabad has reported the highest number of cases of people being injured in such incidents, according to data compiled by the state’s emergency service, 108.
As shared by Dr Pratapsinh Rathod, Superintendent of the Cattle Nuisance Control Department at Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC), Ahmedabad reported 342 animal attacks, which was followed by 174 in Surat, 142 in Vadodara and 81 in Rajkot. Among the smaller cities, Dahod reported 131 cases, Bhavnagar reported 107 cases and Junagadh saw 99 cases. Almost all major cities and towns of Gujarat reported animal attacks and injuries to people. The number of roaming animals in the expansion areas of the state’s eight municipal corporations is steadily increasing. Daily sightings of animals and reports of accidental encounters are commonplace.
To address the issue, the state government introduced the Livestock Control Bill in the legislature. However, the bill encountered opposition and was subsequently withdrawn after the legislative elections. Despite the government allocating funds for livestock control and maintenance, the problem of roaming animals remains. As of the 2019 livestock census, the state is home to 339,981 roaming animals, while shelters and enclosures have the capacity to accommodate 223,689 animals.
Following a stern reprimand from the High Court concerning the issue of roaming animals in Ahmedabad, AMC has formally requested the Standing Committee to enforce a requirement for animal keepers to possess land for housing animals in accordance with the control policy. Those without their own land will not be permitted to keep animals. Moreover, a licensing mandate has been introduced for legally maintaining animals. The Standing Committee has approved the draft policy, along with partial amendments, aimed at controlling and mitigating the issue of roaming animals in 2023.
An average of 400 cases of animal attacks are reported each month throughout the state. The month of March witnessed the highest number of animal attack cases, totaling 490, during the past six months. Subsequently, the months of May, June, and January recorded the highest number of incidents. These cases encompass attacks by roaming animals, domesticated animal-related incidents, as well as attacks by stray dogs.