We Asked: A dog’s life is no ‘catwalk’! Say how must people pitch in and help strays on roads, especially when they are sick or have a litter. Also, who must come forward for their welfare steps like sterilization, even food, water and shelter? Packing them all to a shelter home is no solution, so how best can we deal with this situation?
Let us start with the premise that as far as street animals go, life is not a catwalk for either dogs or cats. But dogs are more visible to humans, and logically, far more persecuted. In most countries, where street dogs are allowed by law to live on the streets, they are accorded with special rights. In India, The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, guides the rights of stray animals. As at any place around the world, street dogs are often victims of abuse, like beating, poisoning and maiming. Then who do they turn to? There are wingless guardian angles everywhere, community feeders and caretakers, who take it upon themselves to feed, medicate and bring justice to these animals. As over population of any species can be irksome, street dog population also should be controlled through Animal Birth Control (ABC) programmes, which has been made mandatory in our country. So, if you see a dog who is not sterilised, or is looking sick or injured, call your nearest animal hospital, the District SPCA or the Municipal Corporation for assistance. Seeing street dogs as a problem, and consequently packing them off to a dog pound is the most unscientific solution to the issue. In fact, it is the beginning of a complex problem, if such a route is initiated. Packing off any dog which is seen as a menace, to a shelter home is also not a solution. How many such dogs can such shelter homes take in, without causing overcrowding and putting strain on resources, thus ultimately compromising on their welfare? So how will a common citizen tackle this problem? Know your duties, know the rights of the animals, keep the numbers of Animal NGOs, District SPCA and your municipality departments handy in case of emergencies, lobby with the local administrative body to implement the ABC programme for street animals, visit your local police stations to apprise them of animal laws, and last but not the least – have patience while dealing with people who do not necessarily love animals. Sensitise them. Listen to their side of the story. This is not an impossible task . -Shakuntala Majumdar, President - Thane SPCA
It may only take you a spare chapatti, or some curd rice to feed a stray in your locality. What is needed is sensitivity and empathy- traits that are lacking in most human being these days. In older time, every household prepared the first roti for the coq, second for the crow and third for the dog. But, now, these poor little souls are nobody’s concern. You see sick animals on roads, you look away. Is it not the duty of each one of us to show some concern and do our bit for these homeless creatures? The least you can do is to contact a vet or a veterinary hospital, the most you can do is to take it to the vet yourself! The least you can do is to contribute to animal feeders in your locality, the most you can do is to become a feeder yourself! The least you can do is to contact municipal corporation in helping with sterelisation of a brood in your area, the most you can do is to supervise this operation yourself so that no dog- whether male or female- is left out. The law makes it binding on every citizen to bear with stray or pet animals as you would with your neighbours’ kids. Bear this in mind. They have equal right to an area. You can’t chase them away or ‘get rid of’ a brood if a bitch happens to lay it near your house. But, please just don’t tolerate them, show kindness to them. They will repay you by showing loyalty, guarding your doorstep, your locality and sending you lots of blessings that will come handy in your bad times. - Samar, entrepreneur and animal activist
Topic of the month: Why is the law or threat of penalty not stopping people from spitting on the roads, pavements and every public place? Even the boundaries of flyovers are filthy with such ungainly sights. You can even see policemen spitting paan or paanmasala on roads! What do you think is the reason for this stubbornness and what can be a remedy? You may send your views (either in Hindi or English) in 300 words at [email protected] Please also attach a colour photo of yourself.