May 26, Colombo: Sri Lanka has planned to set up an open-air sanctuary for stray dogs in a two-acre land in Anuradhapura of North Central Province.
The Health Ministry says the move is a first step to control the growing problem of rabies in the country due to dog bites.
According to the Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena, the stray dog population stands at 2.5 million despite the introduction of a sterilization program in 1995.
Between 2,000 and 2,500 people are reported every day by stray dogs, and the treatment of dog bites and rabies had cost the government Rs.500 million annually while an anti-rabies injection cost Rs.30,000, the Minister pointed out.
Sri Lanka has banned the killing of stray dogs since 2005.