India is perhaps the only civilised country in the world, where stray dogs are not only tolerated but encouraged, under legal protection.
To an elite animal lover, it may sound like a paradise, specially to ones who do not have to walk on the road and to those who live in gated colonies or multi-story societies.
To many among us who walk on the road, or live in modest houses it’s a nightmare. Stray dogs form packs and chase people, bikes and even cars! They fight territorial battles, generally in the night when it becomes difficult to sleep due to their high-decibel fights. They poop all over the place, esp. the walkways! This is the plight of majority of us – the general people. Think of those who are less fortunate, the homeless or those who live on street – there are well recorded and widely reported incidents of stray dogs snatching toddlers to eat! There is even a news report of able body man on the street eaten (eaten, not just bitten) by packs of stray dogs!
India is leading nation with fatal Rabies, mainly due to stray dog bites. Most of the victims are street children. There is no cure for it, though it is easily preventable by eliminating stray dogs. But some animal lovers love stray dogs, as long as they themselves are not bitten, or shall we say eaten!
Even as a pucca-vegetarian and animal lover, I do not see any logic. Why kill rodents, pests, mosquitoes, but not stray dogs? How can eating mutton, chicken, beef, fish, seafood be allowed but not eliminating stray dogs?
The world over, eliminating stray dogs is the responsibility of local government. Our local governments and municipal bodies used to do this job till one fine morning when an animal loving minister decided enough was enough – India must lead in something. As it was no match to China in human population, let it lead in stray dogs! Enter the ill conceived prevention of cruelty against animals act. It not only criminalised dog catching by the municipal bodies, it also banned monkey, bear and snake charmers and circuses with elephants. You can eat monkey or snakes, or tame elephants for heavy lifting in jungles (as the Government does on large scale) but cannot keep them for entertainments. You can eat the dog or keep it for charming yourself but cannot eliminate stray dogs! It is height of absurdity.
Whole villages of snake charmers who traditionally healed snake bites were rendered jobless and criminalised. The circuses disappeared and the elephants in them confiscated and whisked away to jungles to do the government’s job.
While the taxpayer has to face daily condensation in public advertising for being unclean and defecating in the open, it is supposed to not mind dog poop everywhere on the walk ways – the poop not only of stray dogs but also of pets. We are supposed to look the other way from our cars, gated colonies and apartments, when the stray dogs chase, bite and sometimes eat our less fortunate brethren.
Who says India is not the largest democracy? Soon it may be largest democracy for stray dogs, or should we say, for the dogs, by the dogs and of the dogs, with a higher protection to animal rights than human rights. The petty citizens, governments, the police and the judiciary in India will be supposed to protect animal rights before human. That is progress, isn’t it?
In the present state of affairs, God alone could save us from the stray dogs. God’s own country has done the right thing by rubbishing the hypocrisy. This journal fully supports it and calls upon other states to do the same.
Some of the dog lovers have called for a boycott against Kerala, esp. against touring Kerala, because it is going against stray dogs. We disagree. Let’s all go to Kerala in larger numbers and rather avoid places where there are lots of stray dogs!
No civilised society in the world tolerates stray dogs. Our father of the nation did not. We do not elect our representatives and pay taxes, to enact laws to protect stray dogs, we do so to save ourselves from them. Let’s send all stray dogs to where they belong – dog pounds, or to the so called animal lovers.