This is a concern that our society refrains from speaking about or getting involved with, mainly because this does not concern it directly. We talk here about the plight of the female dogs- bitch - that they undergo when on heat. Usually people claim that 'it' is a natural phenomena and that the bitch willingly submits to a group of aggressively excited male dogs that keep surrounding her for their 'turn', hardly giving her any relief in between. If such a thing happened with a human, it would be termed as gang rape! In cases where the bitch is able to pick a partner or two of her choice, then that will be a natural thing. But, these days, in a majority of areas the number of females corresponding to male dogs is very less- sometimes an area has only one female dog and six to eight male dogs. Here the freedom of choice does not arise because the male dogs forcefully have sex with her despite her every attempt to evade them. She growls, snaps at them; puts her tail in between her hind legs to stop them and even tries to sit or hide in a corner. Yet the dogs fight back, bite the female, pounce on her and rape her. Her pitiable cries of pain can and should make even the hardest of human heart shiver and melt (with shame). Why then no one ever comes forward to help her. Even providing temporary shelter at one's home might work. But the 'decent' people can't really do that! I am not writing this on a whim but have been witnessing such incidents increase for the past couple of years. Despite reporting the matter, the authorities concerned seem clueless on how to tackle it. At best they say that many bitches have been spayed so they won't lay a litter. Actually!
The 'spaying' or 'neutering' if done correctly would not let such a situation to happen. When a bitch goes on heat, she emanates a scent which is picked up by the male dogs and they come to her. In areas where male, female ratio is better, a bitch is not tortured to this extent. Now, if the female is property spayed, she would not go on heat and not release any 'inviting' smell. By properly, I mean all reproductive organs-both the ovaries and the uterus- must be removed and the bitch be kept under medical observation for 15 days, and only after the stitches are cut and wound healed completely should she be returned to the locality she was picked up by NGOs involved in stray sterilisation. But, the general practice being followed by them is getting only the ovaries removed and leaving her back on the street within three days. Their main concern here is not animal welfare but controlling animal population. The bitch will continue to release the scent if the uterus is not removed. Who knows, the poor bitch, still recovering from the operation, may again be pounced upon by male dogs. Can you even imagine the level of excruciating pain she will experience. Her wound may also get infected. But, then, who is bothered- main thing is, she will not get pregnant!
Now the question is why are females preferred for such operations over male dogs even though their surgery is easier and postoperative care less demanding? Activists say though as per the law both male and female dogs must be neutered in a locality, those given the responsibility prefer female dogs because they are friendlier and more cooperative. However, if male dogs in every locality are neutered, it would be the biggest accomplishment because they will become gentler, less aggressive towards people, won't go on heat and won't cause litter. It is also important because even if the males in one area are neutered but those in adjoining areas are not, and even if one female dog is left unspayed in that area, the dogs from the neighbouring areas would come to 'claim' the bitch causing territorial fights and even some unwanted pregnancies. The mantra is to get all dogs- irrespective of sex- neutered. This will not only allow them to lead healthy lives but the stray population will also be considerably controlled. Leaving loopholes is causing the little efforts made going waste as well. Here one must point out that while 'collecting' dogs from an area, both male and female are picked up but actual surgeries are mostly done on females.
Now before the NGOs involved in this field try to refute, I ask them to look around them and say why is the stray population increasing to the extent that dog feeders are facing great hardships in feeding the strays. This is the season, go out and actually see (and not turn your eyes away bashfully) how much 'activity' is taking place in every street of each locality. You will also spot painfully thin puppies chewing on garbage, or being run over or injured by vehicles and people. See for yourself how terrible it is for a dog to survive on roads, not to mention lay a litter and try to raise it. Where are the animal shelters that get so much fund and donation? Are they restricted to some glorifed areas only? Keep eyewashing! But, my primary concern remains the dame that has to put up with death like ordeal every six months!
Saumya Misra, Editor, TreeTake