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Kashmir is forced to suspend stray cull

THE MUNICIPAL Authorities in Indian-run Kashmir have recently halted a programme to poison hundreds of stray dogs in the city of Srinagar.

The move came shortly after animal rights campaigners had threatened court action on grounds of cruelty. Five hundred dogs had already been poisoned, however city officials say they will try a programme to sterilise the animals chemically instead. The cull was originally proposed to help eradicate the threat of rabies.

Authorities had planned to poison the city's population of stray dogs with strychnine, health officials said.

Early reports said Srinagar's dog population was about 100,000, but the mayor told a BBC correspondent in Srinagar the figure was about 2,000. He said local officials would work with animal welfare groups and federal environment officials to plan a programme of chemical sterilisation.

Rabies is a common and growing problem in many of India's cities. India accounts for about half of the world's 55,000 deaths from rabies each year.