Stray Dogs in India: Even a bark has a spark

May 8, 2017, 4:55 am | Updated May 8, 2017, 4:55 am IST
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  All living beings feel, touch, love, live and have equal rights to live their lives with dignity. Although stray dogs cannot communicate with humans, their emotions can still trigger human minds. “They may not have words to let you know, But like you, they suffer, love and grow.” When humans lose humanity within themselves, it paves way to cruelty, heinousness and inhumane deeds. Animal cruelty is an offence under Section 11 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960, and Section 429 of the Indian Penal Code, which is punishable with imprisonment and fine. The number of stray dogs worldwide has been estimated between 200 and 600 million. India has estimated 30 million stray dogs. India has the highest number of human rabies deaths in the world. The problems in India relating to stray dogs are:
  • Stray dogs are prone to cruelty as there are no strict laws to penalize the wrongdoers.
  • The people are vulnerable to aggressive dogs, whose bites could cause rabies, which leads to acute inflammation of the brain.
  • The garbage is dumped in open, as dogs are scavengers, they get de-localised from their natural surroundings as become aggressive, which may lead to human-dog conflicts.
  • Stray dogs are homeless and lack care and training.
Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) is a statutory body under Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India, established in 1962 to promote animal welfare in the country. Animal Birth Control (ABC) programme has been developed by World Health Organization as the only practical solution to control the street dog population and eradicate rabies. Government of India has formulated the Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules, 2001 which directs that municipalities work with animal welfare organisations to implement the ABC programme.  Section 3 (3) of these Rules states that “The street dogs shall be sterilized and immunized by participation of animal welfare organizations, private individuals and the local authority.” The Rules deals with catching, transportation, sheltering, sterilisation, vaccination, treatment, Euthanasia and release of sterilized vaccinated or treated dogs. In 2015, both the Kerala High Court and Bombay High Court passed orders to reduce the stray dog population by killing strays as humanely as possible. Both the orders were followed by severe protests. Both orders were overruled by higher courts. In November 2015, the Supreme Court banned killing stray dogs in India. Netherlands has become the first country in the world to have no stray dogs. The possible solutions to the problem of stray dogs are:
  • Strict legislation and harsh rules for those who inflict cruelty, injury and inhumane actions on the stray dogs. For this, new laws have to be evolved in India, as Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960 is outdated now and needs to be amended to the present changed circumstances.
  • There should be proper sterilization and vaccination of stray dogs and they should not be de-localised. This will not make dogs hostile and give them a peaceful environment to survive.
  • Garbage has to be dumped properly and safely in bins rather than in open. This will prevent stray dogs to come near them and attack others.
  • Instead of buying dogs, the people should be encouraged to adopt stray dogs as they need them the most. The love and care of the people can bring them a better and healthy life instead of a devastating life in the garbage.
The Indian society has to change its perspective on stray dogs. They are not just objects of abuse and torture, but are like us. They reciprocate our love and cry when it pains. They should be respected, adopted and loved like our family members. Although many laws and legislations can be framed, every effort of the individuals of the society can bring about changes in the problems of Stray dogs in India. So, let’s join our hands and celebrate our enigmatic humanity to save the lives of all creatures of the Nature. “Let the laws never make anyone dare, To destroy their lives, devoid of care We spread our smiles for their welfare, And t a golden crown of Humanity we wear.”
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