Shockingly, almost 100 dogs poisoned to death within two days in Telangana on municipal orders as their population was booming. The ways of poisoning, clubbing, beating, shooting and especially killing strays to control their population were outlawed in India since 2001. In 2008, the high court in Mumbai permitted municipal officials to kill dogs that “created nuisance.” (The SC subsequently suspended the order.) Since then, the top court has said there will be no stray culling and has ordered mass dog sterilization programs.
But that doesn’t stop frantic officials from ordering the removal of strays by killing. A new batch of killing is reported every day. You can find a dead bodies carcass in nearby dump yards. I wonder if all the 100 dogs were hostile and threatened humanity. I wonder if authorities felt better at murdering defenseless beings. I wonder if they could have practiced animal birth control instead of injecting poison into them if the problem was rising population.
Humans are rather entitled bitches who can do anything and everything and still have a hundred more opportunities to repeat the errors. Some have even begun to rape animals as man-animal conflict arises. To rape minors and women, torture animals have significantly transformed into a fad. Should we expect more of such occurrences now that urbanization has set foot in the economy?
I also understand the pitiless outlook because India has some 30 million stray dogs and every year more than 20,000 people die of rabies. Last year, the Global Alliance for Rabies Control revealed that India accounted for 35% of fatalities from human rabies, more than any other nation. Many of those deaths are blamed on stray dogs.
But are the strays primarily responsible for biting humans?
I don’t think so. A study of cases of a dog bite at a hospital in Kerala last year showed that 75 percent of patients had been bitten by pet dogs and only a quarter had been caused by stress. A 2013 research in 13 Tamil Nadu colleges discovered that pet dogs accounted for more than half of the students ‘ dog bites. There are many more stray dogs in Latin America than in India. There are as many as 50 dogs per 100 humans in some communities in Latin America. The largest frequency of stray dogs reported in India is around 7-8 dogs per 100 individuals.
The Indian street dog has evolved into a hardy species fighting an unforgiving environment, both intolerant and loving humans, and nature’s vagaries. Their capacity to flourish in large numbers in the most difficult circumstances has led to an issue of plenty.
It is clear that India’s sterilization program for stray dogs is in tatters. A labyrinthine bureaucracy involving many ministries and paltry federal financing is primarily accountable. The health ministry finances a program run by HSI spaying 5,000 dogs a month in Haryana, but that’s not enough. A mass sterilization drive in Jaipur has brought rich dividends. Among the other states, north-eastern Sikkim is a champion: it is rabies-free after all its strays have been neutralized, thanks to a successful government-run sterilization program.
It costs about 1,000 rupees to sterilize a dog, and it must be done at a fast pace to prevent the population from multiplying. It’s difficult, but not impossible. In the end, India requires an inexpensive vaccination and spaying program for its strays.
The Bottom Line
The only practical solution to poisoning dogs and killing is mass vaccination campaigns against rabies targeting the entire dog population as well as carrying out sterilization programs by neutralizing stray female dogs.
For too long, India has tried to manage its stray dogs by putting them down brutally, using poorly trained workers. This, we believe, must end.