The Kerala government has decided to set up dog pounds in each of the state's 14 districts to shelter stray dogs whose population in the coastal state is said to have touched 6.50 lakh.
"We will set up the dog pounds in every district on two-acre plots of land owned by the government," Local Bodies Minister K.T. Jaleel told the media in Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday.
The statement comes a day after a 50-year-old man was mauled to death by a pack of strays in a city suburb.
Jaleel said legal steps are also underway on the issue in the apex court.
Local Self Government Department Principal Secretary T.K. Jose told IANS that the district collectors of all 14 districts had been directed to identify the land required.
"There are 54 state-owned farms in these 14 districts. Two acres from each one could be set aside for the dog pounds. We will also meet animal lovers to seek their help in maintaining the dog pounds, while expenses will be met by the Kerala government."
He said animal birth control programmes have been started in coordination with Kudumbashree- the state-run women-centric programme -- to check strays' population.
"We face a serious shortage of trained dog catchers. We have trained 379 dog catchers who will get hold of these strays and bring them to the sterilisation centres. For every neutered/spayed animal, the Kerala government will pay Rs 1,900 to Kudumbashree," the officer said.
Veterinarians conducting the surgical procedures will be paid Rs 400 per dog.
The remaining amount will be used on medicines/vaccines and feeding of strays at the centre for five days. Thereafter, these stray dogs will be released at the place where they were caught.