Islamabad-Stray dogs have made the lives of the citizens miserable in twin cities as several areas of Rawalpindi and Islamabad have become a den of free-roaming dogs.

Not only the side areas and remote towns in Tramari, Chatha Bakhtawar, Bhara Kahu, Bani Gala, D-11, G-13, Bari Imam, and Margalla Town are infested with stray dogs but also the densely populated housing areas of G-7, Sohan, Khanna, Ghauri Town, PWD, Soan Garden, Jinnah Garden, CBR Town, Gulzar-e-Quaid, Gulraiz I&II, Dhoke Chaudrian, Yousaf Colony, Chaklala Scheme-III, Committee Chowk, Satellite Town, Sadiqabad, Dhoke Khabba, Dhoke Piracha, Khayaban-e-Sir Syed, Pirwdai, Fauji Colony, Shams Colony, Naseerabad, Westridge, Range Road, Tench Bhata, Afshan Colony, Quaid-e-Azam Colony, and others are seen crowded with free-roaming dogs.

“It is a matter of great concern as not only the side areas but organised residential areas aren’t free from stray dogs that move in packs and pose serious risks to residents, especially children. In Ghauri Town VIP Phase, these free-roaming dogs bit several children during the last few months.

We lodged complaints with the authorities concerned but to no avail,” Awais Dilbar, a resident of the said area told APP on Wednesday.

An official of the Sanitation Directorate at the Capital Development Authority (CDA) informed that thousands of complaints lodged by the residents were awaiting action as the dog shooting wing of the CDA was refrained from culling stray dogs due to a decision jointly taken by the chairman CDA, deputy commissioner Islamabad, and other relevant officials of the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) administration.

A sanctuary for stray dogs was established in Chauntra to provide shelter and medical care to stray dogs, however, one sanctuary was found insufficient to deal with such a large number of street dogs, he added.

“I was bitten by a stray dog in Allama Iqbal colony more than a year ago. I got vaccinated after facing huge difficulty as the anti-rabies vaccine was short in the government hospitals.

I request the local bodies to take this matter seriously as thousands of people in Pakistan lost their lives due to dog bites annually,” said Umair Javed, a resident of Rawalpindi Cantt.

The Global Alliance for Rabies Control notes that more than 80,500 cases of dog bites are reported across Pakistan annually, and the World Health Organization estimates that up to 5,000 people die of rabies in the country every year.