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  Home >> Animal Issues - Stray Dogs >>  Response to Vinay's observations on the High Court order pertaining to Stray Dogs 

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

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