PESHAWAR            -            No doubt, dogs are popular across the globe for their faithfulness, but, are dangerous and rather more fatal when they become rabid.

A stray or rabid dog can be anywhere and, Peshawar has a huge problem with free-roaming dogs so the city is struggling with ways to manage the issue.  Zeba Masood, a US citizen of Pakistani origin has established first sanctuary of stray dogs in posh University Town area of Peshawar. The facility known as Lucky Animal Protection Centre is the first of its kind that was established to save street dogs from beating, maltreatment and malnourishment.

“I set up the sanctuary to provide protection and shelter to maltreated, beaten, and starving stray dogs,” Zeba Masood said. “It makes me sick and breaks my heart to see all stray animals on roads in pathetic conditions,” Zeba Masood said and added that these street dogs have increased the risk of dog bite cases that may lead to fatal disease rabies.

“Our goal and mission is to eradicate rabies from Peshawar as well as the whole KP province through the mass vaccination of stray and owned dogs, and reducing animal overpopulation through spay or neuter and adoption programme while providing temporary shelter to stray, injured and abandoned animals, husband of Zeba, Masood said. Monthly expenditure of the facility including rent, food, vaccinations and medical supplies amounts to about Rs. 250,000. These expenses are incurred by her family, friends, animal lovers and concerned citizens of the civil society. Food of the dogs includes chicken meat, carrots, dry fruits and assorted vegetables keeping in view the body and health requirements of the animals.

“Killing a dog is not a solution to the problem but the situation demands vaccination and neutering on part of government to make these roaming creatures harmless.”  He said that “100 dogs are having treatment in the facility and we are planning to vaccinate 500,000 dogs in future from imported injections.” The facility was also receiving adoption applications both from inside and outside of the country he said and added, “We are planning to send a dog to US for adoption after competing vaccination course”.  He said that “We are considering to contact Armed Forces for training of some of our dogs”, adding, “We are also conducting awareness session in various schools to save street dogs”. He said that data of all the dogs that were being given treatment in the facility had been properly documented. He also urged animal lovers to help the facility in getting dog-handling equipments and specially designed vans to transport dogs.  He urged upon the concerned authorities to devise a comprehensive plan for the treatment and vaccination of street dogs.