LAHORE: Civil society activists and animal rescuers Wednesday demanded the government and the district administration to stop culling stray dogs, besides providing shelter homes to vaccinate and take care of them. The demand came after the Metropolitan Corporation Lahore had started a campaign for culling stray dogs to curb incidents of dog-bites that were gradually increasing in the city. Similar campaigns were launched last year in several cities of the country, especially in Karachi, Rawalpindi, Quetta and others. However, animal rights activists of the Todd’s Welfare Society and Give us Life Animal Welfare have urged authorities concerned to stop killing stray dogs, especially in Karachi. Several awareness walks and protests were also marked to press the government against the campaign. According to media reports, approximately 0.15 million people become victim of dogs-bites annually while 15-20 percent of the affected people sustains rabies and other dangerous diseases. Whereas the Dog Bite Centre of Institute of Public Health – which deals with animal bite cases in Punjab – particularly Lahore and its vicinity, claims that the centre caters an average of 30-35 new patients on a daily basis. Earlier this week, a five-year-old girl was mauled to death after a group of stray dogs bit her in Rahim Yar Khan. The girl was initially hospitalised where she succumbed to her injures. Talking to Daily Times, Faizan Malik, a rights activist, said: “Our purpose is to create awareness among people on the brutal killing of stray dogs.” He said that the district administration’s teams had recently killed around 80 stray dogs in Canal View area of Lahore alone. He said that the government should allocate a separate piece of land to dogs as a shelter home. “If government thinks that the number of stray dogs is increasing, the government may vaccinate them to stop their generation,” he said, adding: “I believe that dogs are loyal and should be treated with kindness.” “We have filed a petition in a court against the brutal act and hope that it will be helpful to save lives of stray dogs,” said advocate Hamza Khan. He said that that under the recent campaign, approximately over 50,000 dogs had been unnecessarily killed. Aniza Khan of Give us Life Animal Welfare said that the local government might legislate to provide for registration of all dogs. She said, “It is forbidden in Islam to treat an animal cruelly, or to kill it except as a need for food.” Emaan Habbib said, “Our demand is not only to stop culling stray dogs but also provide shelter to them. She too demanded to introduce a public hotline where citizens could complain against stray dogs if they think that dogs are dangerous for them.