Sri Lanka cracks down on stray dogs ahead of South Asian meet

July 27, 2008 (AFP) – Sri Lanka is rounding up dozens of stray dogs ahead of a major South Asian summit, which will also see the island’s largest deployment of police dogs to sniff out explosives, officials said Sunday. The Colombo Municipal Council said dozens of strays over the weekend had been captured near the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall, where the summit is being held, and that the round-up would continue.

“The dogs are being tagged, vaccinated and will be released back to the same areas after the summit closes on August 3,” a spokesman said, adding that the strays will spend the summit duration at a dog pound.

The two-day South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit starts on August 2.

Official estimates show that Sri Lanka has a high dog-to-man ratio with one dog for every seven people in this country of 20 million people.

About 2,000 dog-bite cases are reported daily and the state spends over 250 million dollars a year to treat rabies.

Meanwhile, police will deploy 40 sniffer dogs at meeting venues and hotels where the visiting leaders from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal and Pakistan are staying, police said. “This is th