Strays - how to deal with 100,000 of them??
Monday, August 17, 2009
Last week, I took a day off from work and went on long drive (app. 350 kms) to get out of the funk I had been on - worked as usual.
Before I left the city limits I came across 6 dogs, all strays, run over by vehicles. I stopped counting after that!! Believe it or not seeing mangled dogs on the highway is nothing out of normal, 2 years ago a survey done by an NGO said that there were about 100,000 strays in Bangalore!! There have been several incidents where people have been attacked by the strays. I remember 2 separate incidents where 2 children were attacked by a pack. Tragically both the children succumbed to the injuries. Even after 2 years I am still not able to understand or reason such tragedy, particularly the why? Does it matter to debate on whose fault it was after such events? But that was what happened in the immediate aftermath; a lot of finger pointing.
The city officials finally came up with the idea of culling out the strays. The way this was done was so inhumane that the animal welfare organizations stepped in and stopped the program. Some NGO's along with the city then took up a program of sterilizing the strays. This is still going on hampered by lack of funds and facilities to capture, house and treat the dogs. So far this has not made any noticeable difference. In fact the situation has taken a more dangerous turn, since the dogs after being treated, was (still are, I suspect) being released together in a random area. Naturally this has resulted in bigger and more vicious packs. I believe the sudden change in pack dynamics and more competition are the reasons for the increased aggression. I know, I have fostered a few.
It is my opinion that to deal successfully with a problem of this magnitude the approach should be try finding good homes for the treated dogs. Those dogs that can not be placed needs to be put to sleep, of course without the cruelty, and with respect. Some of the NGO's are set against such a solution. I even read somewhere that we just have to learn to co-exist with the strays!! Is this actually due to compassion, was there any thought given to the resultant issues, about how these poor dogs starve, how so many of them end up being splattered across the road. I mean, I love dogs too and I feel that in addition to the danger the dogs themselves would be better off dead. Am I playing God? Is my reasoning wrong?
Just wanted to vent. The man we Indians consider as the Father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi, once told "The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated" - I agree with this completely.
P.S: Please forgive me if I have offended anyone who has differing opinions. That was not the intention.