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  Home >> Animal Issues - Stray Dogs >> pro-stray dog responses e.g. sterilisation, cleanliness


pro-stray dog responses e.g. sterilisation, cleanliness 

Response 27 to Kala Suresh's message below:

My slightly detailed response (expressed many times over by others upto now, I know) to some points below, although as a person with no "practical" solution to offer to a society that cannot keep its public places clean...
Mr. Kala Suresh is not the first person to rant on the stray dogs problem. One cannot deny that there can arise problems with packs of dogs, although in my own entire life, a dog running towards me barking menacingly has always run past me to some other dog behind me that it is chasing or fighting. It has never attacked me. But I do not want to deny the problem since I do know of cases of attacks. I would not like my young to be mauled by dogs. To that extent (of recognising and acknowledging the existence of a problem) I am in agreement.
Damn the animal organizations and Menaka Gandhi for interfering with their killing.
Mr. Suresh, the rage you feel might change if you watched videos showing small pups being electrocuted by the municipality. It does not befit us to behave like that. Killing of known rabid dogs vs preventive killing of all stray dogs of any age are very different. That is what the individuals and organisations you have damned point out.
1) stray dogs spread filth and diseases
Excuse me. Humans spread filth and disease. Dogs just congregate to scavenge from our leftovers that we throw outside instead of inside a garbage bin. Dogs don't have dinner tables, our dumps are their dinners. If they are found spreading some of the waste around, then so are rag pickers who strew the entire waste from the bin around looking for things they can sell. Isn't it? If we don't want the dogs there, let us not entice them with food in the open.
Please take a walk down any of Bombay's open air toilet streets, eg, Suman Nagar on the Eastern Express Highway near Kurla. It is pockmarked with human faeces. Dogs create filth????

2) Their bites are increasing day by day.
Does the data prove it? And what if it does? The correlations to increased human population, increased open garbage would also be interesting.

3)They bark all thro day and night disturbing everybody
The temple in front of my house plays the tape recorder day and night driving me up the wall. The house below mine holds a satsang throug the night making me wish I was deaf.
Dogs do bark all through the night. And it is annoying. Sometimes, maddeningly so. But to kill them for what voice Nature has given them????

Why are these dogs favoured when all animals around  are suffering abuse? The poor timid goats are sacrificed in the name of religion. The other domestic animals are ill treated. The snakes which are friends of farmers, especially the rat snake which is a natural predator for rats are killed as soon as they are spotted.Lakhs of chickens were culled for fear of bird flu.When all these killings can be justified, why not that of stray dogs?
Why is wildlife favoured when all animals around are suffering abuse? Well, because human society has reached a point where it is sympathetic towards wildlife. Others will also be favoured slowly. All or none is surely not the right way to do things - it would result in no progress. The way of civilisation is to stop the suffering of the others also, instead of dragging everybody into the net of suffering. Isn't it? The poor timid sacrificial goats, the ill-treated domestic animals, the insensitively killed snakes, the horrible conditions of poultry  - the suffering of all these are justified today only the way Hitler justified his killings, Mr. Suresh. Through our might. It doesn't make it right ! All these animals you so eloquently mention deserve to have their suffering ended. They deserve to have what the stray dog has surprisingly been granted - the right to live.
By keeping our public places clean and spotless, the dogs will go away over time. Or at least reduce in number, reducing their nuisance.

4)They are reproducing so fast that sterilization is expensive .Neither the BMC nor the NGO's are of any help in this regard.
I agree. Money is short all around. But that is all the more reason that we do the inexpensive things - like throwing garbage inside the bins, before we call for exterminatory killing. A dog is not a bacterium.

Dr. Ranjit Konkar (PhD)
Trustee, Editor
Beauty Without Cruelty
Mumbai, INDIA
Tel:2523 5570 (r),  2272 2775/6 (w), 93225 13114 (m)
email :

Message by: Kala Suresh
In my opinion, one of the most serious issues faced by mumbai today is that of stray dogs. Their population is increasing day by day and so is their menace. Damn the animal organizations and Menaka Gandhi for interfering with their killing. Why are these dogs favoured when all animals around  are suffering abuse? The poor timid goats are sacrificed in the name of religion. The other domestic animals are ill treated. The snakes which are friends of farmers, especially the rat snake which is a natural predator for rats are killed as soon as they are spotted.Lakhs of chickens were culled for fear of bird flu.When all these killings can be justified, why not that of stray dogs?

1) stray dogs spread filth and diseases
2) Their bites are increasing day by day.
3)They bark all thro day and night disturbing everybody
4)They are reproducing so fast that sterilization is expensive .Neither the BMC nor the NGO's are of any help in this regard

Given all these points we can conclude that nature always has a way of controlling animal populations by predator prey relationship. But in the case of stray dogs this is not happening and with sterilization becoming ineffective their populations are increasing manifold. If menaka gandhi has a problem then let her sponsor money for the sterilization of all the dogs of mumbai! The court should allow the BMC once again to kill the dogs

kala suresh

Response 26:

Problems caused by stray dogs

Haphazard urban planning and human overpopulation have led to a correspondingly huge population of stray dogs in most Indian cities. They cause the following problems: 
  • Rabies – a fatal disease which can be transmitted to humans. Although all warm-blooded animals can get and transmit rabies, dogs are the most common carrier. India has the highest number of human rabies deaths in the world (estimated at 35,000 per annum).
  • Dog bites - Most occur when dogs are trying to mate and fighting among themselves – pedestrians and other humans in the vicinity often get bitten accidentally. Females with pups to p rotect may also be aggressive and bite people who approach their litter.
  • Barking and howling – an accompaniment to dog fights which invariably take place over mating.

Response 25:  Why removal of dogs doesn’t work

Most Indian civic bodies have been killing stray dogs for decades, some since the last century. The concept was directly imported from the developed countries without any understanding of the very different urban conditions in the third world. In developing countries such as India, where exposed garbage and slums encourage the existence of strays, killing or removing stray dogs has proved completely ineffective in controlling rabies or the dog population. This is because dogs removed are easily replaced. 
Dogs have extremely high breeding rates (twice a year, multiple births). Two dogs can multiply to over 300 (over a few generations) in three years. They are also highly territorial, with each dog having its fixed niche.
Here is what happens when dogs are taken away: 
  • Their territories become vacant and dogs from neighbouring areas move in to occupy them.
  • The dogs who escape the catching squads also continue to multiply, so the territorial vacuums are soon filled again.
  • Dog fights increase, since every time a new dog enters a territory he is attacked by the dogs already in the neighbourhood.
  • Dog fights continue to take place over mating.
  • Dog bites also increase, as during dog fights many humans get accidentally bitten.
  • Rabies continues to spread to humans, since none of the dogs is vaccinated.
  • Rabies continues to spread because the dog-catchers are reluctant to pick up a rabid dog – so only healthy dogs get killed.  
As long as exposed garbage and slums continue to exist, dog-killing programmes cannot work. They only create an unstable, constantly changing, rapidly multiplying and rabies-carrying dog population.
In Mumbai in the late 1980s and early 1990s, there were about 50 human rabies deaths every year in spite of a large scale dog-killing programme. Government sources claim that over half of human rabies deaths are caused by unvaccinated pets, so the killing of strays had no impact on human rabies.

Repsonse 24: 

The effective solution: Sterilisation-cum-vaccination

For decades the Municipal Corporation of Mumbai used to kill up to 50,000 stray dogs annually. The method used was electrocution. In 1994, in response to demands made by our organisation and others, dog-killing was replaced by mass sterilisation and immunisation of stray dogs. Under this programme, stray dogs are surgically neutered and then replaced in their own area. They are also vaccinated against rabies.
  • Since territories are not left vacant, new dogs cannot enter. 
  • Mating and breeding also cease.
  • With no mating or crossing of territories, dog fights reduce dramatically.
  • Since fighting reduces, bites to humans also become rare.
  • The dogs are immunised, so they do not spread rabies.
  • Over time, as the dogs die natural deaths, their numbers dwindle.
The dog population becomes stable, non-breeding, non-aggressive and rabies-free, and it gradually decreases over a period of time.

Response 23: 

Stray dog FAQs from WSD

We are constantly asked questions about the stray dog issue, both by people who think dogs a nuisance and by dog-lovers. These are the most common ones. Q1. Why are there so many stray dogs here anyway? Why aren’t there any in London and New York?
The urban environment in India has two features that encourage stray animal populations – exposed garbage and slums. Neither of these exists in developed countries.

Stray dogs are scavengers and garbage provides an ample source of food for them. In the absence of this food source, dogs would not be able to survive on the streets. Moreover in India and most other south-east Asian countries, stray dogs are also kept as free-roaming pets by slum-dwellers and street-dwellers such as ragpickers.
There are stray dogs in developed countries too – but they are abandoned pets, or feral dogs (meaning dogs who were once pets but now live like strays). They are unable to survive or breed on city streets since they can find nothing to eat. Most are captured, housed in animal shelters and rehomed.

Q2. Why did the municipal corporation stop killing dogs?
A2. Mass killing of dogs as a population control measure was started by the British in the 19th Century. It was continued on a large scale (up to 50,000 dogs killed every year) after Independence by the municipal authorities all over India, with the aims of eradicating human rabies deaths and the stray dog population. By 1993, it was admitted to be a complete failure, since human rabies deaths had actually increased, and the dog population was also perceptibly growing .

Studies by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Animal Welfare Board of India (Ministry of Environment & Forests) show that dog population control measures which work in developed countries are unsuccessful in third world developing countries, since urban conditions are very different. The urban environment here encourages breeding of stray dogs, so no matter how many dogs were killed, they were quickly replaced by more.

That’s why in January 1994, the killing programme was replaced by mass sterilisation of stray dogs. The sterilisation programme is carried out by non-government organisations in collaboration with the municipal corporation.

Q3. If stray dog population control is the issue, wouldn’t it make more sense to kill the dogs or take them away?
Removal or killing of stray dogs seems to be the most obvious method of controlling the population, but it has actually proved to be completely useless. This is because even when large numbers of dogs are killed, the conditions that sustain dog populations remain unchanged. Dogs are territorial and each one lives in its own specific area. When they are removed, the following things happen:

  • The food source – garbage – is still available in abundance, so dogs from neighbouring areas enter the vacant territories.
  • Pups born and growing up in the surrounding areas also move in to occupy these vacant niches.
  • The few dogs who escape capture and remain behind attack these newcomers, leading to frequent and prolonged dog-fights.
  • Since they are not sterilised, all the dogs who escape capture continue to mate, leading to more fighting.
  • In the course of fights, dogs often accidentally redirect their aggression towards people passing by, so many humans get bitten.
  • Females with pups become aggressive and often attack pedestrians who come too close to their litter.
  • They breed at a very high rate (two litters of pups a year). It has been estimated that two dogs can multiply to over 300 in three years.
Since dogs who are removed are quickly replaced, the population does not decrease at all. The main factors leading to dog aggression – migration and mating – continue to exist, so the nuisance factor remains.

Since removal of dogs actually increases dog-related problems, the effective solution is to sterilise the dogs, vac cinate them against rabies and put them back in their own areas.

Q4. But what’s the point of putting the dogs back after sterilisation? Doesn’t the problem just continue?
No, when dogs are sterilised and put back in their own area, the population and the problems caused by dogs both reduce. Here’s how:

  • Each dog guards its own territory and does not allow new dogs to enter
  • Since they are all neutered, they no longer mate or multiply
  • The main factors leading to dog aggression – migration and mating - are eliminated. So dog-fights reduce dramatically
  • With the decrease in fighting, bites to humans also decrease
  • Since females no longer have pups to protect, this source of dog aggression is also eliminated
  • Over a period of time, as the sterilised dogs die natural deaths, the population is greatly reduced.
Please remember, there is NO overnight solution to the stray dog issue. It is simply not possible to wish all the dogs away. With sterilisation, the population becomes stable, non-breeding and non-rabid and decreases over time. It also becomes largely non-aggressive. On the other hand, when dogs are removed or killed, new dogs keep entering an area and the population is continuously changing, unstable, aggressive, multiplies at a high rate and carries rabies. Which method makes more sense?

Q5. Why don’t you dog-lovers just keep all these stray dogs in your own homes?
Dog-lovers have not created the stray dog population. They merely try to minimise it through sterilisation, and to keep it rabies-free through vaccination. Moreover, even if a lot of stray dogs got adopted, the basic problems of vacant territories and d og replacement would remain.

(By the same logic, people who love children could be asked to keep the entire population of street children in their own homes!)

Incidentally, our organisation does promote the adoption of pariahs and mongrels - so if someone you know is planning to buy a pure-breed dog, try and persuade him to adopt a stray instead. Although it won’t provide a large-scale solution, you will have the satisfaction of knowing you got one dog off the street!

Q6. Can’t some of the dogs be released in another place?
Since they would be entering the territory of other dogs, there would be a lot of fighting in the area in which they are released, and in the process more humans would get bitten. Their original territories would also be left vacant, so new dogs would enter… and the stray dog problem would go on forever.

Q7. What about rabies? Don’t they all spread rabies?
Only rabid dogs spread rabi es. Healthy ones don’t.

The World Health Organisation recommends mass vaccination of dogs as the only effective way to eradicate human rabies. Mass vaccination has led to a significant decrease in human rabies deaths in Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Jaipur and Mumbai itself. Recently Fethiye in southwestern Turkey implemented this programme and dog-related problems have reduced.

The sterilisation programme includes anti-rabies vaccination. Our organisation also annually vaccinates a large number of stray dogs on site. Between 1993 and 2005, we have vaccinated over 37,000 stray dogs.

For more information, read our leaflet on rabies.

Q8. But didn’t dog-killing help in controlling rabies?
. Dog-killing was ineffective as a rabies eradication measure, since the catchers only captured healthy dogs and the rabid ones were left to spread the disease. Official sources also claim that half of human rabies deaths are caused by unvaccinated pets, so once again killing stray dogs is of no use.

The killing method has failed to control rabies in developing countries worldwide – including Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Cambodia, North Korea, Bhutan, Afghanistan, Jordan, Syria, Yemen, Bangladesh, Nepal, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.

Q9. I sometimes see dogs with skin problems and hairless patches – aren’t they all rabid?
Skin problems and fur fall are not symptoms of rabies. Rabies affects the central ne rvous system, not the skin. Probably the confusion occurred because there is a skin disease called scabies. Strangely, this question is asked quite often in India.

Q10. How exactly do you sterilise the dogs? Are both males and females sterilised?
Both males and females need to be sterilised, because while the females actually give birth to more dogs, the males are more aggressive and have much higher nuisance value. Complaints from the public are almost always about males.

Both males and females are surgically sterilised at our centre, under general anaesthesia, by qualified veterinary surgeons. The process is also called neutering. In the case of females the ovaries and uterus are removed, and in the case of males the testicles are removed. Therefore both mating and breeding cease. The dogs are kept for post-operative care for a period of 8 days and then released in their original location.

Q11. Ok, so the birth rate of dogs comes down over time…but what about dog-bites?
As explained earlier, most dog aggression occurs during mating time, as dogs cross territories to mate and fight with other dogs whose areas they enter. Humans passing by get accidentally bitten in the course of these dog-fights. This problem ends when all the dogs from a neighbourhood are sterilised.

As testosterone levels come down after sterilisation, male dogs also become less aggressive. Stray dog females are usually aggressive only when they have puppies to protect, so with sterilisation this problem ends as well.

Q12. Dogs bark and howl the whole night – how can you solve that problem?
Barking and howling occur during dog-fights, which take place at their mating time, so with sterilisation the problem disappears. Dogs bark when new dogs enter their territory, and as these migrations cease with sterilisation, the barking largely ends too. They also howl when they live and move in packs. When the dog population dwindles in size, pack behaviour also declines.

Q13. How would I know if a dog has been sterilised?
Our organisation puts an identification tattoo on the dog’s left inner thigh, g iving the month and year of sterilisation. Other animal welfare groups put different identification marks – some brand the dog’s outer thigh and one organisation cuts a triangular notch in the ear.

Q14. The dog problem may have reduced in South Mumbai – but there are still so many dogs in the suburbs. What’s being done about that?
The human population and the number of high-rise buildings are growing very fast in the suburbs, leading to suddenly increased amounts of garbage, leading to a large population of stray dogs.

Our organisation has been working consistently for eleven years in South Mumbai, which is why the dog population has reduced there. Animal welfare organis ations working in the suburbs started operations much later, and will need some time to show results.

Q15. How did stray dogs originate anyway?
India has long been home to the Pariah Dog, one of the world’s oldest canine breeds. In slightly varied forms, the Pariah Dog has existed for over 14,000 years all over Asia and North Africa. Most rural families own at least one. As villages and rural areas turned into cities, these dogs became stray dogs. As explained earlier, they survive by eating garbage and are also kept as pets by slum-dwellers.

The stray dog population is regularly increased by callous owners who abandon their pets on the st reet. Many irresponsible pure-breed owners also allow their pets to mate with strays, producing a large population of mix-breeds or mongrels.

Q16. What is the difference between stray dogs and mongrels?
Stray is merely a legal term indicating an animal who is ownerless and homeless. It does not refer to the breed of the dog. When pure-breeds are lost or abandoned on the street by their owners, they also become strays.

A mongrel is a dog of mixed or indeterminate breed. Both the terms stray and mongrel are commonly – and erroneously – used to denote a Pariah Dog. Pariahs are a distinct breed of dog, coming under the category of primitive or aboriginal breeds. Since they are not commercially recognised, this fact is not widely known.

In India, most strays are Pariah Dogs or mongrels. Once a Pariah or mongrel gets adopted as a house-pet, it ceases to be a stray.

Q17. My building society wants to remove all the dogs from the premises and release them in another area – is that legal?
No, it is absolutely illegal and punishable. Under the Bombay Municipal Corporation Act only the staff of the BMC or people authorised by them can capture stray dogs. The guidelines for dog population control approved by the Mumbai High Court in 1998 also prohibit the permanent removal of stray dogs from their original location.

Q18. Some people go around feeding stray dogs. Doesn’t that increase the stray dog problem?
No. Stray dog populations are created and sustained by garbage, not by handouts from kind-hearted ladies! In fact, people who feed dogs generally get them vaccinated and neutered as well, so the population would actually decrease where dogs are being fed. However, feeding should be done in a responsible manner so that it does not cause any disturbance to the public.

Q19. Isn’t it sad that stray dogs have to eat garbage?
Archaeological studies indi cate that wolves started living near human settlements so that they could eat the garbage thrown outside. Dogs evolved from these wolves, and have always been scavengers. Unlike humans, they do not view garbage with disgust. In fact, even a well-fed pedigreed dog will often make trips to the dustbin when his owners aren’t looking. Of course, eating garbage has its risks, since once in a while a dog may eat something poisonous – but many strays lead long and healthy lives with no other source of food.

Q20. What should I do if I want the dogs in my area sterilised?
You should request the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, preferably in writing, to pick up the dogs and hand them over to the nearest animal welfare organisation for sterilisatio n. State clearly that you want them returned to the same area afterwards. If you like, contact us and we will arrange for them to be picked up.

Q21. If I want stray dogs vaccinated against rabies what should I do?
We can vaccinate them if they are within Mumbai city limits. Contact us.

Q22. If I see a sick or injured dog, what should I do?
Our first-aid groups can treat wounds and skin problems on site. If the injury or illness is serious, call the SPCA on 24137518.

Q23. Do I have to pay anything if I want any of those services?
Our organisation does not charge for any services. However, check with individual organisations regarding their policies. 

Dec 12, 2005

Response 22:

An animal care NGO has developed a new method of sterilising street dogs that overcomes the problem of post-operation infection.

Normally for the sterilisation operation, catgut or thread made from goat's intestines is used to stitch the wound. The catgut dissolves quickly while the wound takes weeks to heal. Dogs often scratch the operated area, leading to infection. Many castrated dogs die due to post-operation infection. Moreover, dogs have to be kept in the shelters until the wound heals, costing the government or the NGO involved considerable amount of money in post- operative care and upkeep.

However, the NGO Blue Cross has developed a new surgical method that does not lead to the danger of infection and allows dogs to be let off within hours of the operation. Blue Cross vets are using synthetic thread (polyglucon) instead of catgut. The outer skin is stuck together with Feviquick, an industrial adhesive, after the sterilisation operation. The synthetic thread is not visible once the outer skin is stuck with Feviquick. The thread takes at least five days to dissolve, thus giving the wound longer time to heal. "We are spending around Rs.350 to Rs.375 per dog," said Chinny Krishna, Blue Cross chairman. The organisation has been active in the city since 1996. "The dog can be set free as soon as it comes out of anaesthesia", he added.

Response 21: 

Some people still think it will be impossible ever to bring an end to the killing of homeless animals in this country (USA).
Among them are some of the nation's largest, oldest, and most well-known - and well-funded - animal rights organizations
and humane societies.

They may be right. It may indeed be impossible. Then again, lots of perfectly honorable and decent people, 150 years ago,
believed it would be impossible ever to bring an end to slavery, however much they disapproved of it.

Fifty years later, child labor was still considered by most people to be another of those "necessary evils" in life. They argued
that it was more constructive simply to try to improve the conditions in the factories. (It was the Women's Humane Society
of Philadelphia who led the charge to end that kind of negative thinking and abolish child labor altogether.)

Today, we all look back at those and other social evils of the past as bizarre anomalies. Yet in our own time, many people, including even the large humane and animal rights groups, still acquiesce to the daily carnage of abandoned four legged
family members in "shelters" all across the country. 

The bottom line is that as long as people believe that killing homeless pets is one of those "necessary evils" that can never be
stopped, then it will never be stopped.

The resources, the talent, and the know how to bring an end to this horror within this decade are now with us. All that's required at this point is the ongoing commitment to get the job done. Everybody knows it's wrong to be killing homeless pets. We all know, too, that none of us can turn this thing around single-handed. To bring an end to the killing, we all have to work together - humane societies, SPCA's, private shelters, and spay/neuter, foster, and adoption groups. We have to shed old notions of what cannot be done, find common ground, and always put the needs of the animals first.

The general public needs to be on board, too. They're ready. Millions of people now understand the need to adopt their pets from shelters, rather than patronize pet stores and puppy mills; to have their animals fixed; and to care for them like any
other family member.

Response 20: 

Stray Dog Bite ! Get Insurance ! Call ICICI ! 

You can now get insured against dog bites. Just call ICICI Bank on 39803066 or just drop in ICICI Bank Andheri Branch. The Customer Service Associate will help you to get insurance against dog bite. 
Also if you get snake bite - ICICI Bank has an Answer INSURANCE ! 
Very Warm Regards,
Nilesh Bhanage
Hony. Animal Welfare Officer 

Response 19:

Dog facts on fights and bites

These are some frequently asked questions about the stray-dog issue, both by people who think dogs are a nuisance and by dog lovers.

Why do stray dogs exist in India? Why don’t you find them in London and New York?

Almost all stray dogs belong to an ancient canine breed known as the Pariah dog, which existed all over Asia and North Africa ever since human beings started living in settlements. They are, and have always been, scavengers. In India, the breed has existed for about 14,000 years. The size of the stray dog population always corresponds to the size and character of the human population of an area. In urban India, large amounts of garbage, a source of food, and a huge population of slum and street-dwellers, who keep the dogs as free-roaming pets, have sustained the stray dog population. In developed countries, there are abandoned pets. Most are captured, housed in animal shelters and re-homed.

To control the population, wouldn’t it make more sense to kill the dogs or take them away?

Removal or killing of stray dogs has actually proved to be completely useless. Even when large numbers of dogs are killed, the conditions that sustain the dog population remain unchanged.

Dogs are territorial and each one lives in its own specific area. When they are removed, the following things happen — the food source is still available in abundance, so dogs from neighbouring areas enter the vacant territories; pups born and growing up in the surrounding areas also move in to occupy these vacant spaces; the few dogs which escape capture attack these newcomers, leading to frequent and prolonged dog fights.

Since they are not sterilised, all dogs escaping capture continue to mate, leading to more fights. In the course of fights, dogs often redirect their aggression towards people passing by, so many people get bitten. They breed at a very high rate (two litters of pups a year). So, the effective solution is to sterilise the dogs, vaccinate them against rabies and put them back in their own areas.

Why put the dogs back after sterilisation?

Because then each dog guards its own territory and does not allow new dogs to enter. Since they are all neutered, they no longer mate or multiply. The main factors leading to dog aggression — migration and mating — are eliminated. So, dog fights reduce dramatically. Since females no longer have pups to protect, this source of dog aggression is also eliminated.

How can you stop dogs barking and howling the whole night?

Barking and howling occur during dog fights, which take place during mating. The problem ends with sterilisation. Dogs bark when new dogs enter their territory and these migrations cease with sterilisation. They also howl when they live and move in packs, which stops with the dwindling population.

What about dog bites?

Most dog aggression occurs during mating, as dogs cross territories to mate and fight with other dogs whose areas they enter. People passing by get accidentally bitten during dog fights. This problem is minimised if all the dogs in a neighbourhood are sterilised.

P.S. — Statistical data and all information courtesy The Welfare of Stray Dogs, a Mumbai-based organisation working to eradicate rabies and control the street dog population in a humane, scientific way. Website:

Response 18

Thanks for the communication you started on the Stray Dogs' issue.   Looks like while you are trying to sort things out with the BMC (that itself being a Herculean task, I certainly don't envy you) vis-à-vis other interested entities, there is fire and brimstone breathing down your neck from certain quarters because of, may I say, misjudgment on your personal inclination on the issue; apparently deduced as being 'animal unfriendly' or even 'ignorant on the subject'.

I write not to defend you, I believe you are more than capable, but just that over the last few digests, what has incensed me is the attitude that some animal lovers have towards anybody who talks about the nuisance that dogs create on the roads.  (A case of being too righteous perhaps). Responsibility and blame can be shot at all corroborating parties.  But that is not the issue.

The issue is that of little children mauled by stray dogs; that of ordinary people having to stay at relatives' places in the night in order to avoid getting out of their homes at even 5 am to catch a morning train lest a swarm of dogs check their dental strength on them.   I am personally witness to both these and I know the fright and psychological trauma experienced.  I am also anguished at the pain a dog undergoes being bitten by the same species.

The fact of the matter is that animal welfare organisations and the BMC point fingers at each other, while ordinary citizens don't know what to do. Now that this initiative has begun, I would request all animal lovers and other capable individuals in this city for the sake of the beautiful dogs, to come forward and work meaningfully in atleast partially resolving this issue.  Leave aside the burning of oil, et al to the oil companies!

Francis Dias
98202 90167 

Response 17

I live in Quiet, Auroville. Its a beautiful green paradise on the beach on the Bay of Bengal. We have an alternative healing centre  and guesthouses. Many months ago a clearly unwell, meek stray dog entered the compound and ended up staying. He was sweet, never barking, never running after people, never begging for food. Seeing his condition the watchman and workers began 
giving him tidbits. I too made it a point to give something every night to  this gentle, endearing but weak creature. Once during my absence a woman from Australia took him under her wing, took him to the vet, treated him. He grew a bit better day by day. Several months passed and he became a part of the place. One fine day I found that he was not there. Through questioning I understood that the director and the office staff, thinking that his presence would not be appreciated by the guests, had called a vet, had him put down and buried him. They did not tell me of their plan as they thought that I would not take it well.

Like every place our centre has its problems. The villager dump all their garbage in front of our gate. Our beach is used by the local fishermen to dry their fish and it gives rise to an intolerable stench at times. These fishermen use this same beach where they dry the fish as their toilet, so there is always shit on our beach, making swimming in the sea unsavory.  I assume these and several other problems would upset our guests far more than a meek dog sitting in a small corner of a huge compound, yet just because the other issues are too difficult to handle the people in the office killed the dog and felt they had made the place more attractive.

I feel the same is the case with the stray dog issue that we are talking about on this forum. It is definitely one that must be looked into but there is no way to complain about all the other human related issues because no body can go out and kill the human culprits. The poor mute dog gets all the blame and becomes a victim but he is far from the main problem. 

In this situation don't you think that awareness is the key? I thought just writing that should help some people to see what's going on. When it happened in Quiet I brought it up at the very next meeting and brought it to people's attention that just because they cannot do anything about all the other big problems or because they are too hard to tackle they took this action which was actually wrong and which did not change anything. It was a guest who taken up the task of treating the dog, so I don't think the  guests are disturbed by seeing this dog. (he was not ugly, or skin disease, just a bit thin). I sincerely questioned how we could call ourselves an alternative healing centre if we could put to death one meek and unfortunate soul. They all said it would never happen again and that after it was done some of them had regretted it. This is why I wrote that for karmayog. Other ways of making this understood could be through the media - some more such articles. But this is a real slow process. Such articles will get a thumbs up from all the animal rights people, and many of the others will not even read it. Only a small percentage will become aware. That's all we can do.

I do believe that this is the situation not just for dogs but for everything. Its always easier to blame - MCGB / or any other authority than to do something yourself. And it is always better to do something yourself no matter how small the impact than just blame. I think this is also what you mean when you always say please give your solution.

Dec 5, 2005

Response 16

Response to Vinay - reg. stray dogs & Vinay's response 
[My comments are inbetween in brackets. Vinay]

Dear Vinay,

About your point about dealing with vicious dogs, how many vicious dogs are there really? Do you often come across them? I find it hard to find them. Is it more the fear of people towards them then their viciousness? How will we grade viciousness? If someone throws a stone at a dog and the dog reacts is the dog vicious or the person? How will we judge if a dog is really vicious or is just being reported as such? 

[In my opinion, I think that there should be a volunteer group to whom complaints of vicious dogs should be directed. That group should visit the place, talk to the person(s), understand the situation, educate the person(s), figure out how to resolve the problem e.g. BMC to remove uncleared garbage, etc. This will slowly but surely result in a better tolerance by citizens, a FAQ, less ill-treatment of dogs, and some systemic improvements. Today, no one knows what should be done and why. I think it's
a great dis-service to dogs. Vinay]

Animal Welfare board of India - They don't have a great website They do have booklets on this and will send them. Their address is on the website. [Thanks.] 
At least in south Mumbai, I feel the stray population is much less than it used to be several years ago. Is the stray dog population really increasing? 
[I have no idea. I live and work in South Mumbai. Vinay] 

The population of stray cows is also increasing in Mumbai as well as slum dwellers, and the population of sparrows and vultures is reaching lowest ever numbers. This all needs to be looked at as a whole. You cannot separate all this because each is dependent on the other. If you remove dogs, rat population will go up and they are spread rabies and also plague. I think all this singling out of stray dogs is going overboard and making us not look at the other problems of the city as a whole. (Stray dogs, for eg. Are not responsible for the largest number of deaths). 
[The classic mistake that we all do e.g. saas-bahu relationships, is to avoid discussing a problem by changing the topic to another, or answering a question by a question, or to say 'first do that, then I will discuss this', etc.

There is no doubt that everything is interdependent and needs to be looked at holistically. The problem is that urban ecological balance does not seem to have been studied. So it is not within our capability to start with that holistic picture as a base. We can only and should always be aware that the holistic picture is critical. 

Having said that, it should be remembered (in my opinion), that even if a  complete overall picture of the problem is available, one will need to then separate it into individual types of problems and these will have to be dealt with.
So, all issues connected with stray dogs need to be tackled - just as all issues connected with stray cows, slum dwellers, etc. also need to be tackled. But do debate which should be done first is a moot point. Vinay] 
Contrary to what you said, I think that it is just because some are dog haters and others dog lovers that this is such a touchy, never ending subject which is taking us away from the real problems. 

[I disagree. People can love animals, be indifferent to them, fear animals, or hate them. I would (like to) believe that those who hate dogs have had some personal experience. I don't think that a policy decision should be based on them. (BTW, I, myself, am in the indifferent category. My wife fears them. My daughter loves them.) 
I don't think it's a never-ending subject. I don't think it's not a real problem i.e. to say, the problem may not be the dogs, but the problem is real. Vinay] 
I wonder - those who complain about dogs, do they realise that population and space is also a problem? Do they avoid having children?  
[They do realise that there are interconnected problems. They just want that there be a solution to the extent that there can be. To ask them to avoid having children is going to another logical extreme, I would expect. Vinay]

I feel that most NGO's (not all) just look for short term solutions to their causes. For example if an NGO is helping handicapped or blind or poor, or cancer patients etc how will their work reduce the number of these unfortunate people? By saving poor for eg you are only going to increase the number of poor and dependents unless you go in for family planning operations or education in a big way. To me the biggest surprise is that there is no population control NGO seen on Karmayog. Are there any? In order to maintain the natural balance for every life saved a pregnancy must be prevented. I am not stating all this to detract from the issue - I am stating it to bring up the relative importance of various issues. Why are we so involved with dogs alone? Please do not get me wrong. I appreciate that  the issue is taken up, but this is the only issue which is so regular, yet
not the most important issue in the city. Why?

[I agree. Vinay] 

Lets all look at the bigger picture. 

Dr Nandita Shah
Dec 3, 2005

Response 15

I think everyone is fed up of the debate on this forum on dogs, people are more keen on action rather than finding out who is wrong.

For last 8 years Quaneez has been crying hoarse over stray dog issues, which is her right. But she has also been caught
misreporting and misleading public on things as serious as high court orders and orders by the National Human Rights Commission. She had claimed in the newspapers that High Court has ordered dog killing as a "last resort" (while hiding the fact that the order meant, only in an extreme injury or incuable disease a dog be put to sleep). She claimed NHRC as ordered PMC to start killing of Stray Dogs, while the NHRC denied in writing that it never ever ordered so.

I may also clarify the Role of NGOs and why is there the ABC program. 

1. Why ABC?
ABC is not the "perfect" solution for stray dog control,the ideal solution is total control of open garbage combined with
implemenation of certain rules on owners of pet dogs. Since, we agree that we as cities have failed on these both miserably, ABC is being implemented. And such compromises are made everywhere, and with valid reasons. T.B, the disease is treated with a combination of drugs that poses a grave risk If the medication is discontinued, the patient may end up with incurable forms of the disease, or worse, give birth to new incurable strains of it. But there is no other known affordable method to cure it. So a less than 'perfect' solution is used and it largely works, but not without exceptions. 

2 . Issues relating to ABC management and Lapses : 
Animal Welfare Organisations are not duty bound to run ABC, nor do are they  doing it for pleasure. Our corporations admit that they are incapable of running ABC themselves, so the AWOs had to step in. Alteast till 1 years ago i know, most AWOs have had dues amounting tens of lakhs with the respective municipal corporations. I dont think it has changed, a bulk of the funds continue to remain individual donations, some odd grants and money from trustee's own pockets. ( I have stopped counting how many lakhs I have donated personally in last 7 years).

3. Why are the lapses : Who run these NGOs? Pune's Blue Cross is run by a couple of close to 80 years in age. PAWS is run by a group of 3- 4 leaders 50 other volunteers, of average 20-25 years of age. Similar stories for all others. Top it up with the is constant pressure to deliver more from the same meagre resources. They need applaud for the 499 successful operations rather than brick bats for the 1 failure. What takes up most of their energy? Arranging funds.. most of them have bank balances of 5,000 or 10,000 when they are lucky, overdrafts most of the times every, most energy goes in arranging funds and managing animal emergency. Remember, each of the, do this while sacrificing their careers, family life, freinds and personal goals. If you want AWOs to deliver perfect results, create perfect situations for them. ABC is NOT their duty, like all good NGOs they are doing it for the scoiety while making sacrifices.

4. E-collage / Qaneez / SDFB Answer these : 
Like all politicians, they love to "expose" sensational issues, while ignoring the real ones. The fact is ABC is NOT a kinder way of doing what killing can easily do. Killing is only an emotional way of dealing with crisis. Killing has been a MISERABLE failure, 35-50% of dog population EACH YEAR was being killed and being DOCUMENTED for over 45 years in various cities all accross India. If it were a success, we would got rig of dogs by 1960s or 70s itself. What new plans do they have to prove that they can make it work this time. Kiling "appearing" to solve the problem is not enough, IT HAS TO BE PROVEN TO BE MORE EFFECTIVE WITH SPECIFIC SCIENTIFIC STUDIES THAT WILL APPLY TO INDIAN CONDITIONS. THIS HAS TO BE BACKED WITH A DEFINITE PLAN THAT THEY CAN PROVE WILL WORK. I have personally approached Qaneez several times, to work collabratively. Using the system that science proves most effective.
 What differentiates doers and talkers is... doers put in their own money mind and efforts and work on the battleground. Talkers, want someone else to clean the mess while they grab media attention from their armchairs.

If this issue needs to be debated further, lets spare Karmayog from it. Anyone wishing to debate can send an email to with "Stay dogs" as the subject. We will carry this debate off the list in a seperate list. There are many vital issues to be discussed on this list. 

Manoj Oswal

Response 14 

 Putting Animal Birth Control and rabies in perspective 

I have gone through the various reports and recommendations on rabies eradication and the ABC (Animal Birth Control) programme, and I noticed a general fear among critics that human rabies deaths would increase due to ABC.

I have a few comments to make:

30,000 rabies deaths are reported in India every year of which the majority occur in rural India . The WHO Technical Report 931 (displayed on Karmayog) says 84 per cent of rabies deaths in Asia are in rural areas. This is a very key point, curiously omitted in all the critiques of the ABC programme that have been displayed on Karmayog. 

Given the magnitude of  rabies in rural India and the fact that it is five times greater than it is in cities, I was rather surprised to find that the entire issue has been overlooked by concerned citizens.

In sharp contrast, considerable effort and research has been directed to the problem of rabies in a few select cities. Rabies seems to be considered a danger only in the limited urban areas where ABC programmes have been implemented. In fact, a disproportionately huge importance has been given to the role of the ABC programme in the Indian rabies scene, considering that its impact is actually miniscule. ABC programmes are being carried out only in a handful of Indian cities, so they can hardly be impacting the rabies scene at a national level. Even in a city with a full-fledged dog-killing programme, ABC has been presented as a grave threat!

In the small area impacted by the ABC programme, its role has been positive, especially in Mumbai. The disastrous consequences predicted by various critics are not supported by rabies deaths statistics supplied by the civic bodies.

Putting Mumbai in the national perspective: rabies deaths in Mumbai used to constitute 0.16% of the total reported, and they have now dropped to 0.05%. 

I don't think the issue of rabies in Mumbai really needs any further discussion. The real question is whether the various critics really aim at the elimination of rabies or the elimination of the ABC programme? 

Dec 1, 2005

Response 13

Stray Dogs and Mumbai Cleansing!  

I have been following your debate on stray dogs, their lineage and their rather rabid ways. I would like to congratulate you all for having this meeting about the stay dog problem. What started it all? Floods in Mumbai, cleaning of Mumbai, cleansing
of Mumbai?! I am having a problem explaining to my 8year old, who I must say loves all animals even the man-eating leopards of Borivilli national park because she is aware that it is we humans who are the problem not the animals, the co-relation between the floods and dogs.

So now that we are all going to clean up Mumbai of the stray dogs, will cats be next after all we really don't know what we can catch from them, will it be stray cattle after that or the all the birds as we might die of bird flu, what about stray humans- if we get rid of the garbage maybe we get rid of those who feed on it. And we must remember more people die by diseases spread by humans than of dog bite. So will we humanely euthanize the homeless, or put them in pounds or like in Brazil shoot them.

I live in Mira -Bhayandar and I can say that the Municipal Corporation is following the ABC program and the number of stray
dogs is on the wane. The dogs in my complex are all sterilized because we felt it our responsibility to get them done. We have
taken upon ourselves to have them vaccinated. They guard our complex better than watchmen do, they haven't bitten anyone, and they help in culling the resident pigeon (which incidentally cause serious respiratory problems) population

Please encourage the municipal corporations to do their work. Those of you who feel so strongly about the stray dog problem I urge you all to take an active role in having your Municipal Corporation sterilize the dogs in your area. All it takes is a phone call. Those of you who are concerned about rabies all it takes is for someone to call an animal related NGO and have the dogs vaccinated. Research is great, so is dialogue, but how many of us have really done our bit. Surely we karmyogis can start with that essential phone call and have our neighborhood dogs sterilized?


. I hope we never become a sterile place like Germany, Singapore etc because these country's have such repressive laws. Sure we may have some litter (both kinds) on the roads we also have a heart (if the starving can look after the animals, there must be a heart beating somewhere).

My daughters are concerned and would like all those in the stray dogs committee meeting to be practical, positive and also
compassionate because life without our loving strays will not just be the same. They also want to know that as rabies is also spread by bats and monkeys, will we be killing the monkeys and bats too?


 Dear Madhvi & Micheal,

What a wonderful letter and explanation for the co existence of stray dogs with humane in city! You very rightly said that the people who are attending this kind of conferences  they just add more confusion then the solutions are these are the people who have not put a single effort by calling BMC or NGO to come and pick up the dogs for sterilization. they really don't know what is rabies and what efforts are put to eradicate the rabies to make our system rabid free. Also these people
are no way connected with any animal issues or work. 

First of all I would like to state a very important fact to the people who says that sterilization is not effective I think they are not aware that a dog has to live his life after sterilization also may be two years or five or ten. so the effect of sterilization  can only be felt or seen after a generation is over. and  dog life a  period is counted ten years so its too early to comment on effectiveness of sterilization since the sterilization officially started in 1998 with handful of NGOs.

I am really surprise that how they can assume that killing is a best and most effective solution to stray dogs problem? if they think so I believe they are most ignorant people to suggest this solution because dogs killing was going on since the time of British rules till 1994. killing of so many years stray dogs should have counted as protected spices. Instead reducing the dog population  it contributed more cruelty in the way of killing  these humane friends in most tortured way by some sadist BMC workers in gas chambers or electrocution by putting water on these scary animals. killing even pregnant bitches and killing puppies front of mother.

I want to ask one question do we want to again start this inhumane practice  when the clear humane solutions are available. and things are moving pretty well. Instead putting inhumane solution why can;t we concentrate where the loophole are and decide how to make sterilization more effective and successful.

First of all no sufficient NGOs to perform the ABC program as per the vicinity of Mumbai. Four NGOs in South mumbai and only two NGOs in both central and western suburb. No fund release from BMC to these existing NGOs. No enough dogs were provided by BMC for the purpose of sterilization. There are no efforts made from BMC to increase sterilization by putting more centers. Time to time NGOs send the proposal to enhance sterilization but all fall to the deaf ears of authorities.

Calling the meeting with the negative set up  mind will never lead to a positive solution this I believe very firmly so instead joining these kind of meeting we are busy working towards our goal  to sterilize our dogs and give them a opportunity to live without producing any more dogs for the benefit of humane society in Mumbai where nobody shouts for over crowded humane population. 

Fizzah Shah
IDA India

: "It's about being human to animals" :

[The meeting was not called with a negative mindset. Nor will future meetings be called with that approach. I think animal welfare ngo's have been forced into a very defensive position and they need to get out of that mindset. I hope to see some of you'll in the next meeting. Regards, Vinay] 

Response 12 

Artificial selection and commercial recognition are not the only factors determining canine breeds. The Pariah Dog found all over the subcontinent belongs to the category of primitive or aboriginal dog breeds, which include the Dingo, the Canaan Dog, the Carolina Dog and the Jindo. 

(2) "Mongrel" means a dog of mixed or indeterminate breed and does not describe the majority of stray dogs. 

‘Pariah’ is not a dog breed. It is a derogatory, casteist term used for ‘lower castes’ and its use has long been banned in India. Ownerless/unwanted dogs came to be referred to as ‘pariahs’ as they were seen to be castaways.    

The Dingo is Australian, the Canaan and Carolina are American, and the Jindo is from Korea: none of these are of indeterminate breed, and nor are the Karwan, Mudhol, Santhal and Rajapalayam which are indigenous to India. None of these breeds are found roaming on the streets of any of these countries either. 

A majority of straying dog populations all over the world are very much dogs of indeterminate breeds. This happens from constant inter-breeding of urban dog populations due to irresponsible ownership and abandonment.  

(3) Quite a large number of stray dogs seem to live with slum dwellers & pavement-dwellers, like cobblers and ragpickers, and do not seem to be abandoned house-pets. 

Ownership is determined by claiming an animal. The point is not whether poor people also own dogs. But when 50,000 dogs were being killed or 5,000 are now picked up to be neutered annually, no rag picker, cobbler, pavement- or slum dweller, let alone thousands of them, turn up to claim their dogs. If a dog is caught and not claimed by anyone, it is an unowned animal for all practical purposes.  

The 1999 RSPCA funded review of the ABC Program states:  

“There is another group of helpless dogs called ‘abandoned’ dogs, which are left by their owners and later become stray unless they are adopted by someone. While communal dogs have their own defined territory, abandoned and stray dogs wander mostly singly and travel long distances in search of food. In fact only the latter suffer because of lack of food, poor health and cruelty. Many agencies are unaware of the differences between these groups of dogs.”

To insist that despite being unclaimed, dogs caught by municipal vans are necessarily owned by ‘poor’ people is denying the fact that homeless dogs even exist. For AWO’s to believe that they are ‘saving Indian dogs owned by poor people’ AND at the same time controlling dog over population and rabies, all by neutering and leaving unclaimed dogs onto public places is bizarre to say the least.

Some of the data is confusing and contradictory. "The BMC has submitted to the B'bay High Court that the ABC program has not worked and is not what the WHO guidelines promote." Really? I recall reading elsewhere a statement by a BMC official that they plan to expand the ABC program? Recent coverage by the Hindustan Times said the same thing. In fact, BMC statistics reproduced in the same paper showed a considerable decline in rabies deaths, leading one to wonder why this issue is given so much prominence. With 15 deaths a year in a city of 14 million , dont we have larger and more important issues to tackle.  

In 2002 the B’bay High Court suo moto decided to review its own 1998 judgment allowing the ABC Program, when a 9 year old girl was mauled in Mumbai. The BMC affidavit submitted to the Court states that the ABC Program is completely different from WHO guidelines and that it has not worked. Further, the Goa Bench of the B’bay High Court has also set up a bench to hear the case, stating that all facets of the law had not been considered when the ABC Program was first permitted. 

Meghna Uniyal (responses in blue) 

Response 11: 

Almost every response on the stray dog issue highlights that garbage control is essential.

AWO's conducting the ABC Program seem to have conveniently forgotten the fact that the very justification for Neuter-Release is that stray dogs are essential urban scavengers. So as long as ABC is followed, garbage  also must be maintained on the streets for the dogs to survive on. And if these dogs don't really need the garbage and are actually owned by poor, kind people who feed them, then why does anyone need to run after them to catch and sterilize them? Someone mentioned that these dogs are "ownerless pets". Presuming that such an oxymoron exists, it should then be quite easy to take them directly from their loving owners and returned to them instead of dumping them onto pavements, highways, outside forests, as is the case now. Annual rabies re-vaccination and licensing should also be no problem, as every dog would be traceable to an owner. But none of this is possible because they are in fact homeless, unwanted animals and so implementing ABC along with garbage control is the surest way to ensure a slow painful death from starvation for them.

Neither killing nor neutering these dogs has any effect on dog populations. Dog control programs are not implemented to maintain stray populations but to prevent their births in the first place and bring the ENTIRE dog population under the ambit of a rabies vaccination program. WHO guidelines based on urban dog population dynamics state:

"In these areas it is important to limit the surplus production of owned dogs. Control of irresponsible dog ownership and education of dog owners therefore is an essential first step in the control of dog reproduction. Animals kept as pets are the group which reproduces most successfully, and so methods aimed at them should have the greatest effect." 
"Strategies cannot be effective in the long term if they depend solely on reducing the number of dogs, which are already struggling for survival and do not breed successfully. In order to achieve long-term reduction in dog populations, the strategy selected must include controlling the reproduction of owned dogs and controlling the environment of unsupervised dogs."

ABC has done a great disservice to dogs by creating something called 'street dogs' which must necessarily live on the streets. Gandhiji said, "We offend against dogs as a class by suffering them to stray and live on crumbs or leavings from our plates that we throw at them and we injure our neighbours also by doing so."

The entire debate, after a decade of ABC, continues to revolve around killing or not killing stray dogs, while the very source of stray populations- pets, is still completely ignored.

Meghna Uniyal

Response 10:

Please find attached Gandhiji's writings on the stray dog issue, in his paper Young India.

I would also like to add the following:

1. The ABC Program being implemented in India for the last decade is fundamentally different from WHO guidelines. The WHO Program is based on the fact that straying dogs the world over are the result of pet over population and pet retention and surplus dogs that end up on the streets must be removed for the safety of both people and animals. The ABC Programme is 
based on the 'science' that stray dogs are 'indigenous Indian dogs' that must necessarily live on the streets on garbage. It is a strange fact that AWO's in India have never heard of Indian breeds like the Mudhold or Carvan Hound and actually think that mongrels on the streets are Indian dogs. Indian breeds are not found roaming on the streets and they need to be bred extensively and not neutered, if they are to survive in the future.

2. The ABC Program negates Municipal and nuisance laws of the country and makes a mockery of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. Acclaimed danseuse Rukmini Devi Arundale introduced the PCA and India became one of the first countries globally to provide legal protection to even domestic animals against abandonment, neglect and abuse. Thanks to the ABC Programme all dogs on the streets, whether they are lost, abandoned or born there, are something called 'street animals' and this makes it impossible to prosecute anyone for them dying of starvation, accidents and diseases. The concept of 'street dogs' is the very anti-thesis of responsible pet ownership. Dumping homeless dogs onto the streets unsupervised, where they are unwanted in the first place in no way promotes the well being of these companion animals that are not meant to live on the streets in any case. In Pune for example, garbage bins have been removed and garbage collection is done on a house to  house basis. Hungry, starving dogs can be seen desperately searching for food. Since the idea is supposedly to 'prevent dogs from being killed', it is in no way achieved by the ABC Program as the same Program allows dogs to perish in the most painful manner on the streets.

3. The ABC Program is also supposed to control rabies in the dog population. India's official dog and rabies control policy does not have a rabies control component at all and does not even mention annual re-vaccination of dogs!

4. The BMC has submitted to the B'bay High Court that the ABC Program has nor worked and is not what the WHO guidelines promote. Under Right to Information the Pune Municipal Corporation has admitted that neither them nor the Blue Cross of Pune have any idea where 17,000 dogs have been released and that not a single dog has ever been re-vaccinated against rabies. The Hon'ble Supreme Court of India is currently hearing the matter. The government of India in its affidavit has already submitted to the Court that there has been no decrease in the incidence of dog populations or rabies over the last decade, despite implementation of the ABC Program.

Meghna Uniyal

Response 9:

In india for 95% of the problems we have the right solution but never learnt how to implement them, worse, we love to go for "announce and forget", symbolic, ego satisfying or pyshologically comfortable solutions. For poaching, we make the laws tougher each decade but the forest ranger still has just a stick and if lucky, a walkie talkie. For rape, we are thinking of capital punishment, but there is no focus on improvement in attitude of policemen, forensic infrastructure or conviction rates. For every natural disaster the solution is few more hundred crores of allotments from center or UN, but no planning or implementation of a disaster management plan. For rural poverty we have Employment Guarantee Schemes but no one to monitor where the hundred crore goes, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan with schools that exist only on paper.

A example of how we typically behave is... Some one announces that cow's blood can cure HIV. Immedeatly we will have cow protecting organisations debating how cows are holy, useful and too gentle to be killed and highlight the cruelties involved in killing it. The other hand would be AIDS NGOS explaining how bad the situation is for AIDS patient, how costly anti-retroviral treatments its, how it could save crores of rupees for the government and patients and some politicians will even announce a bill to replace AVRs with cows blood. In the mean time, no one gives a damn to find whether really can cows blood has anything to do with HIV. No one would refer to scientific papers.  For any scientifically provent system to be replaced by another system, the wothiness of the new system should be verified. Killing of dogs "appearing" to be a solution is not enough, having it worked in one city for few weeks is not enought, it has to have worked over a period of time in conditions similar to India and this been documented is essential. This has nothing to do with love for dogs or hate for dogs, to debate, killing first needs to have been proved to be effective, then come the moral issues.

Dogs issues are just like all other issues in this country, badly planned and worsely implemented. We should start killing dogs the moment someone proves on basis of evidences and statastics how it is going to be effective (while we keep the heaps of garbage we dont want to remove). I would be obliged to know if any country in this world has been able to control dog population by killing which has conditions similar to India. Where there is open garbage. Dogs are not the disease they are the symptoms of the disease called insdisciplined garbage management.

Whether dog killing works is to be proved, but that it doesn't work has been proved over a period of time. Not in controlled lab conditions but in metro cities, the figures are not based on perceptions but hard figures from registers and not in one place for a few months but for over a few decades over 10 different India cities.

Lets find the success rate of dog managemeny by killing dogs... till 1995/6 
Dehli : estimated dog population :  1,50,000. Dogs killed per year : 50000 for nearly 40 years of documented records of this ratio.
Mumbai : Estimated Dog Population : 1,75,000. Dogs killed per year approx 80000. nearly 40 years of documented records of this ratio.

So, for 40 years killing  40-50% of the dog population each year, we should have eliminated dogs in 2 years or atleast in 4 years. In 40 years we had killed 20 times the dog population.We still struggle with Why did it not work?

What does research say?

Case 1 : A group of researchers gave a pair of mice an ideal living condition protecting them from predators. They should have multiplied to 1200 mice by the end of the year. The population stabilised at 21-22 mice. The number of mice the environment could support. (Source : Lives in the Balance: The Ethics of Using Animals in Biomedical Research : The Report of a Working
Party of the Institute of Medical Ethics (Hardcover) by Jane A. Smith, Kenneth M. Boyd (Editor))

Case 2 : Dogs are the direct descendants of Wolves, and it would be interesting to see what controls wolves population. The most authorative site on Wolves says...  a.Pup Survival Pup survival is directly related to prey availability b. Population Cycles : Wolf density often changes with the density of their primary prey. For example, in the northern Great Lakes region, the severe
winters of 1995-96 and 1996-97 resulted in substantial numbers of deer being stressed and many starved or were killed by wolves. This provided a readily available food supply to wolves and increased their survival. However, wolf numbers usually decline a year or two following the decline of primary prey.

Except for larger cities, lets say at the most 50 or 100, no municipal corporation or nagar palika or panchayat in the country has money to run dog killing operations, none of them has had dog population go out of control, it is more or less constant, why? Nature will keep as many dogs as much is the garbage and dirt around, metros and mini-metros have higer density of population and garbage and so they have the problems. Each city harbours a few hundred species of animals, we dont need to have a pigeon squad, a crow squad, a sparrow squad. Why because availablity of natural resources decides how many animals and not human "control". 
The bottom line is... 
1. If we overlook garbage and try dog management through killing : we have no chances of ever acheiving reduction of a dog  population by a single percentage point. 
2. If we overlook garbage and continue well planned and systematically executed sterlisations in good numbers, we have some hopes 
3. If we manage the garbage and dont run either killing or sterlisation, we still have excellent chances for our cities will be free of dog menance (some odd percentalge of curent dogs may still be there) 
4. All those who hope we will have a 100% dog free city, should continue dreaming. Animals haven't invaded cities, we invaded forests to make our cities. Beggars cannot be choosers. 

Killing dogs may satisfy egos, avenge our frustration, even give some moments of releif (just the few days till other dogs replace old ones) but the operations will never end the problems even in short term. 


Manoj Oswal

Response 8:

My basic problem with the recommendations listed here -- and the general approach of most people who express concern over the stray dog problem as it impacts on humans -- is the lack of value that they place on the life of the animals in question. The fact that one can see human life as being so vastly of greater value than other creatures' lives is purely a propagation of
the same ethos which has helped us wipe out so many species from the face of the earth. 
My basic contention is this -- that all life is of value, of at least approximately equal value. And to consider any solution which involves large-scale killing, one must debate whether one would be as willing to apply such a solution to the human condition, which after all is not all that different from many other species (we are only one among millions of species on the whole, and only one among thousands of species which have social structures and intelligence).

Even among human beings, there are those who are well-off, and those who lead a life of struggle from day to day, fighting disease, pain and suffering. There are those who are homeless; those who are hungry; those who are abandoned when they grow old. We are not that diffeently off from dogs. Does anyone recommend we kill off the human beings who are badly
The other major point being made is of the dangerous nature of the stray dog population. Assuming this danger is true, is it of a magnitude that warrants large-scale slaughter? To take the human analogy again, do we have a lower rate of killing in our
society -- through accident or purpose? Yet do we say that since some humans are dangerous, all such humans should be disposed of?

The need, in my opinion, is for education -- for people to be made aware of the need to live with other species (irrespective of whether it's cats, dogs, cows, tigers or whatever). The money that's allocated for the 'destruction' of animals should instead be put into acclimatisation campaigns for people to be made to understand the nature and needs of animals such as dogs, with the aim of creating a situation where more people are willing to take in or look after strays. This separation of people into 'animal lovers' and the rest is I believe completely anathematical to what respect for life is about.

In his response, Vinay mentions his wife's fear of dogs and his daughter's fondness for them, and it is typical of many other people whom I have met who are scared. Their fear is not a reasoned one, and is best dealt with by showing them that there is usually nothing to fear. Even if that doesn't change their own feelings (these are usually too far ingrained to be changed easily), it can at least allow their children to grow up without such an irrational fear. And hopefully we will end up with some future generation to whom all life is important, and looking after the weak and the helpless extends beyond our selfish species.

Aniruddha Sen Gupta 

Response 7:

Here are some things that i would like you to note.

1) With over 25 responses when the debate had started some months back , it seems pointless to go into it all over again. Our responses - mine and WSD's Rajashree Khalap's is stated. 
2) Does it seem that people who deal with stray dogs have no clue or expertise about the issue ? It would be odd for us to give our expert opinions on the under priviledged children/solid waste management and other social issues.

3) Dr Chinny has responded having this expertise and has referred to the latest WHO reports etc 

4) The data which has been put in the recommendations pertain to Bangalore and discussing them in Mumbai would not achieve anything as many factors vary . e.g. In the areas that we cover in Mumbai 80-85 % of the street dogs are ownerless pets - they are pets of the poor - the hawker, the street and slum dweller, the ragpicker, the policeman and so on... 

5) BMC data shows that in 2004 the human rabies deaths were 15 wherein in 1989-1994(when strays used to be killed) , they were between 50-60. Also dog bites were 52,000 (1992) and the latest BMC figures show dog bites at 35,000 (2004). Just these measurables show how the sterilziation programme has benefited humans and this is what we are trying to achieve. Mumbai would have been rabies free if the same amount of money and resources would have been spent on sterilizing and immunizing them vis-a-vis killing. 
6) Our website can be referred to especially the STRAY DOG ISSUE section and the FAQ's section.


Abodh Aras
Tel : 23733433(O)
Adopt a street dog, They're a breed apart !!! 

Response 6:

I think that the Karmayog yahoo group has been on the topic of stray dogs long enough. The poor creatures are not destroying the environment like our species, or even running around in two or more wheelers in defiance of all traffic rules. We Indians probably also have the highest population of slum dwellers, the highest number of public spaces that look like garbage dumps, the highest number of traffic offences, the highest number of leaking faucets, the highest amount of human shit on railway tracks and so on. Most of the nonsense in our country is due to our species so why are we going on and on about the poor dogs?

I have no idea where all Mrs Almitra's figures come from and whether they are true or not, but one misconception is that rabies can be eliminated from a country but removing stray dogs. Rabies is spread by a whole range of animals besides dogs - bats, rats and other wild animals. Come to think of it we could also be AIDS free just by eliminating all the humans. Humans also lack natural predators like strays. 
But most important of all, for someone who has collected so many figures, it is surprising that one fact that has been repeated on this platform far too many times has been ignored. That is that destroying strays has not helped limit dog populations anywhere because any vacant territory gets filled up from strays from outside the area of destruction.

Such long reports give an initial impression that there is a lot of data but we humans are masters at manufacturing data to suit our campaigns. We could learn a lot from the simple stray dogs.

Nandita Shah

Response 5:

V r supervising a Animal Shelter in Jodhpur Rajasthan. It is basically a Dog shelter where near about 500 dogs at a time live in. Municipal Corporation of Jodhpur having the whole land in their name but our trust is managing all activites there. Our trust name is "ANIMALS HOME PUBLIC CHARITABLE TRUST".
U r requested to pl guide us in all managing activities of stray dogs. V hope for positive reply from u at the earliest. With regards, Sudhir Sardha

Response 4:

I read most of the responses to the stray dog issue. It has almost covered everything that i wanted to say. However i will add a few points. I have been bitten by a stray dog at shivaji park on july 3rd this year. The dog bit 15 other innocent passerbys. A three year old boy was bit all over his body. A 60 year old man could not defend himself and hence became a target. When the BMC failed to respond saying that the least it could do was to sterilize the RABID dog and send it back to where it belonged !!! When i wrote an article in Maharashtra times (i narrated this incident to a reporter who was kind enough to add this article the very next day), the BMC authority took action....

I have contacted a lot of people regarding this incident right from PAWS to Anu Ranjan who apparently is actively supporting this moment. 
I would like to participate in the meeting and help in getting a solution. From what i understand, sterilization and rabies  vaccination moment in full swing would be an immediate solution. More number of BMC VANS are needed so that the BMC does not keep us waiting. A signature campaign can be started. A survey can be conducted. And these reports can be submitted in the court during the next hearing which is on December 12th, 2005.

Please inform when the meeting is scheduled. And plz try and keep the meeting when maximum number of working people can also participate.

Sushma Naik

PS: Mrs. Anu Ranjan is the chairman of Indian Television Academy. Her story is she is from Lokhandwala and her peon who was bitten by a dog twice died because of rabies a few weeks back. Many residents of lokhandwala have complained of dog bites. Anu Ranjan along with the andheri residents is/was planning to march to the BMC office. She had put up posters in the area. We could call her and the residents or victims of dog bite for the meeting. 

Apart from that i had contacted Mrs Sugnya Patkar who heads the IN DEFENCE OF ANIMALS who strongly is against killing of stray dogs, to know her stand.

The BMC chief is Mr. Patankar. There is a dog dept control room where complaints are lodged. Some shivsena corporater has also started a signature campaign ( read it in the papers but my ward couldn't confirm it.).


Response 3:

Dear Vinay,

First of all, my congratulations for all the initiative taken by Karmayog on civic issues. If we had a few more people like you in different parts of India, this would be so much nicer  a country to live in. 
One point that must be made at any meeting on animals and their welfare is that the ultimate beneficiary of the animal welfare movement are human beings. A person who is fair and just in his treatment of animals cannot but be fair and just in his treatment of his fellow humans. A child or an adult trained in the principles of justice to animals makes a much nicer neighbour who would solve his problems by discussion and not by confrontation. 

Almost without exception, those of us who are working for animals are also working in at least one organization for human welfare. For us it is not a question of animals or humans - it is a case of animals and humans. 
There is only one way for a long term solution to the street dog issue. 
Please read the attached articles <<abcaugust2004>>  <<WHOtechnicalreportonrabiesSeris931-part1.pdf >> . 
I will be happy to clarify any points you may have. I am also giving my responses to Almitra's email.

Chinny Krishna
M.Tech, M.S, Ph.D
Blue Cross of India
Phone: +91 44 2234 1399 / 3839 / 1878 / 8849

Response 2:

I am sending you my personal views. In Mumbai too, this is a very serious problem and citizens need to be aware of its  implications.  The rampant throwing of waste food on the street corners and nullas, leads to gathering of dogs and their subsequent rapid breeding. 
Then there are the 'do gooders' and the 'religious slant' which leads to many people routinely feeding dogs and leaving them on the streets. 

Nature takes care on its own  .... shortage of easily available food will eventually lead to lower fertility and therefore lower population of stray dogs.

Let us discipline ourselves not to throw wet garbage and food in open areas. Do not leave garbage pails open or with easily removable lids which the dogs will invariably open.  Over time, the stray dog breeding will reduce and the rest will move away to greener pastures.  Do not feed strays unless you plan to take 'care of them' in every way.

If we can do this even for one year, we will find the local area free of all dogs.  The local static population will slowly leave.  If the city does it, within five years, natural death and other means will reduce the stray dog population to negligible levals.  Let nature take its course and we can save tax rupee which is now being wasted on vaccinations, immunizations and sterilization.  This tax rupee can be better used for useful development work.  All we need to do is stop the wet garbage on the streets.  Lets
ensure that our neighbours understand this simple plan. 

I have not come accross NGOs taking this simple, yet effective stand. This method does not contradict or interfere with the other current and costly techniques nor is it detrimental to citizens well being.  In fact, it is this method which will reduce health issues of the general population. 

Best wishes.
Praful Vora

( I agree 10,000 %  with Praful's comments. I feel Mumbai's proposed Anti-Littering Guidelines (why not called BYE-LAWS???) should include a ban on street feeding of animals, esp dogs. Cows being fed grass on Mumbai's footpaths as an income generation opportunity should also be banned (in a separate byelaw if need be) and allowed only and strictly within the premises of temples where such feeding is considered meritorious.  Religious "littering" is not permissible either!  Perhaps religious animal-feeders can be included by name along with traders etc, unless that will rile the saffron brigade so much that the whole byelaws are jeopardised.

Little old Parsi ladies (like me!) feed bread and biscuits to stray dogs on Mumbai street-corners often far from their homes, leading to dog-wags for them and dog-bites for others. Mumbai's Peddar road is a mess because "religious" people place their food leftovers on the pavement at night for dogs to feed on.

Ahmedabad's walled city is a mess because people leave their leftover chapatis etc on their compound walls for cattle to feed on.  The Maldharis there, camped beside waste bins, threaten anyone throwing their garbage INTO the dumper-placers, insisting that the waste be thrown on the ground for their animals to feed on!!! 
Regards, Almitra )

Response 1:

In the cleanliness drive,AIAWA can render some help since AIAWA is situated near the city dumping ground, (Dhobi Ghat, Mahalaxmi E). The concerned NGO can contact AIAWA and perhaps we can work out something positive togehter. 
Another aspect that needs to be dicussed are the stray animals, which include dogs, cats, cattle on roads and near garbage dumps. What plan has been designed for these animals? Every road in Mumbai have some animals loitering in search of food and shelter. Apart from BMC,I am afraid that some NGOs also have different ideas in dealing with these strays. Therefore this aspect needs to be kept in mind too in the proposed cleanliness program.

Though slaughter houses and tabelas have been covered, what about the chicken shops and illegal slaughter joints that are operational in many parts of the city? The BMC and Police are aware of them but do nothing.

These aspects are important for any cleaning program therfore I am drawing your attention. The on going animal birth control program for stray dogs is a program of clearing Mumbai streets of stray dog. But very few people understand this program. This program has to be viewed as a health related program and not so much an animal welfare program.

So much for now.

Jigeesha Thakore
Hon Sceretary

Dec 12, 2005 

It is one of the beautiful compensations of this life that no one can sincerely try to help another without helping himself. --Charles Dudley Warner