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
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
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)
Beauty Without Cruelty
Tel:2523 5570 (r), 2272 2775/6 (w), 93225 13114 (m)
email : firstname.lastname@example.org
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
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
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:
– 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).
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.
and howling – an accompaniment to dog fights which invariably
take place over mating.
Why removal of dogs
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
is what happens when dogs are taken away:
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.
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
continues to spread to humans, since none of the dogs is vaccinated.
continues to spread because the dog-catchers are reluctant to
pick up a rabid dog – so only healthy dogs get killed.
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.
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
The dog population becomes stable, non-breeding,
non-aggressive and rabies-free, and it gradually decreases over a
period of time.
- Since territories
are not left vacant, new dogs cannot enter.
- Mating and breeding
- 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.
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?
A1. 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
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?
A3. 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:
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.
- 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
- 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 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?
A4. No, when dogs are sterilised and put back in their own
area, the population and the problems caused by dogs both reduce.
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?
- 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
- 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
Q5. Why don’t you dog-lovers just keep all these stray dogs
in your own homes?
A5. 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?
A6. 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?
A7. 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
more information, read our leaflet on rabies.
Q8. But didn’t dog-killing help in controlling rabies?
A8. 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?
A9. 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?
A10. 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?
A11. 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
A12. 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?
A13. 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
A14. 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?
A15. 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
Q16. What is the difference between stray dogs and mongrels?
A16. 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?
A17. 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?
A18. 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?
A19. 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?
A20. 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
A21. 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?
A22. 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?
A23. Our organisation does not charge for any services. However,
check with individual organisations regarding their policies.
Dec 12, 2005
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.
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
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
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.
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,
Hony. Animal Welfare Officer
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
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
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: www.wsdindia.org.
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
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!
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
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
Dec 5, 2005
Response to Vinay - reg. stray dogs & Vinay's response
[My comments are inbetween in brackets. 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
[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
[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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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?
THINK OF IT, WE HAVE BEEN AN INDEPENDENT COUNTRY FOR MORE
THAN 50 YEARS AND WE STILL HAVEN'T BEEN ABLE TO REDUCE
OUR OWN POPULATION AND YET WE ARE SO IMPATIENT WHEN WE
TALK ABOUT ANOTHER SPECIES?!
. 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
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.
: "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]
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.
"Mongrel" means a dog of mixed or indeterminate breed
and does not describe the majority of stray dogs.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
1999 RSPCA funded review of the ABC Program states:
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.”
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.
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.
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
Uniyal (responses in blue)
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
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
"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.
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.
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...
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. http://www.wolf.org/wolves/learn/basic/wolfbasic.asp
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
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
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
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 www.wsdindia.org
can be referred to especially the STRAY DOG ISSUE section and the
Tel : 23733433(O)
Adopt a street dog, They're a breed apart !!!
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
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.
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,
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.
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
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
Please read the attached articles <<abcaugust2004>>
I will be happy to clarify any points you may have. I am also giving
my responses to Almitra's email.
M.Tech, M.S, Ph.D
Blue Cross of India
Phone: +91 44 2234 1399 / 3839 / 1878 / 8849
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
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.
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
( 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 )
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
So much for now.
Dec 12, 2005