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  Home >> Animal Issues - Stray Dogs >> Meeting regarding Stray Dogs 


Meeting regarding Stray Dogs held on 22-11-05 at 4 pm at Karmayog office, and from 5pm onwards at Mr. Ratho’s office, MCGM

Those present:  Vinay Somani, Karmayog / NGO Council
Lyla Bavadam, Volunteer, Welfare of Stray Dogs; Journalist 
Arundhati, individual very troubled with dogs
Manoj Oswal, Pune
Jyoti Mhapsekar, Stree Mukti Sanghatana
Mandakini, Community Leader, SMS
Zeenat, Rag picker in SMS area
Asif, NGO - Karuna
Dr.Wavre, Vet for NGO Karuna
Tanya Mahajan, Architect, volunteer, Karmayog  

The meeting began with a round of introductions.  

Manoj, a concerned citizen, and animal lover, from Pune shared his experiences from Pune, where he said that there is awareness and a desire to get together and improve the situation among citizens, and a forum called Better Roads Group, has been set up, but not many people come forward to actually do something. Hence he has come down to Mumbai, to share and learn from similar experiences.  

Vinay:               Let me summarize the situation, as we know of it, with the existing information available:

There are several committees in Mumbai for stray dogs, one of which is the High Court Committee that has 15 members on board.

There is also an MCGM – Animal Ngo Committee with 6 NGO’s appointed by MCGM to undertake sterilization of dogs.

The animal NGO’s are in touch with each other, and meet if there are specific issues to tackle like for eg,: the Russian Circus.  

Lyla:                 The animal NGO’s are area-specific, and most of them do not have the time to network with the others, and hence mostly work independently.  

Vinay:               There is also the Times Forum for Animals.

                        From the various emails and responses received at Karmayog, it has emerged that there are 2 viewpoints on the stray dogs issue:

                        i) get rid of the stray dogs

                        ii) Sterilize the dogs, to reduce both the population, and the aggression.  

                        If a dog is injured, emails are sent requesting for help, and the Animal NGO’s respond.

                        Similarly, if there is a nuisance caused by dogs, whom does one contact? The MCGM if contacted does not respond satisfactorily, and most people do not know which other NGO/private agency to contact. Further, the operating NGO’s are already overstretched, and hence cannot attend to all of the cases.                       

                        What are the existing Rules applicable? There is the Dog Control Rules of 2001 and the High Court Directive of 1998.

Lyla:                 Lets not get bogged down by the rules, and instead apply our common sense to the problem.  

Vinay:               I suggest that we form a MCGM-NGO-Citizens committee for stray dogs – to reach an effective solution, and look at both/all sides of the issue and address it effectively. The MCGM also has viewpoints on the issue that needs to be considered.  

Lyla:                 This has already been done; there are MCGM Dog Control Rules in place, there are area/ward wise officers in charge of this work. The fact of MCGM not effectively implementing these rules, is true, but if a citizen needs help, the Police is also empowered to provide the relief, or guide the citizen with the right information, to the correct place. Hence, I feel that no new committee needs to be formed.  

Jyoti:                I am neither a dog lover nor a dog hater, but we have had some experiences dealing with stray dogs, and hence we are concerned. Our office is near the dumping ground, where there are several stray dogs linked to the garbage. Some of these dogs have been known to have turned vicious, and they have been entering the settlements fringing the dumping ground, and the case of the dogs getting violent have increased, with 2 recent cases where Zeenat’s 8 year old boy was attacked and killed by stray dogs in the dumping ground, and a small child was taken from inside the hut by stray dogs.

These incidents were covered in the news by Sandeep Achare of Loksatta, who has studied the situation in detail.

I have also given details of this case to the concerned Ward officers as well as the animal NGO’s but we have not got any response.

The MCGM has said that they are looking into the matter, and that they have caught some dog, which may not even be the dog in question, but no relief/compensation has been given to the victim’s mother/family.  

Tanya:              What kind of response do you expect from the Animal NGO’s? In this case, the dumping ground and garbage is the problem, which is not the purview of the Animal NGO’s.  

Jyoti:                We would expect that at least those animal Ngo’s working in this area, Govandi, will intensify their sterilization drive and undertake a campaign in the area. For example, when there is an incidence of rape, or murder, the women’s organizations protest and draw attention to the incident, forcing the Government to take some action.  

Lyla:                 As you yourself had mentioned, the garbage is the problem in this case.  

Vinay:               Such a comparison is not applicable, as it is not the mandate of the Animal NGO’s to draw the attention of the Government to the situation.  

Manoj:             Animal Ngo’s are doing the work that they do, because they are forced to, because the MCGM is not doing their job effectively, and the Animal NGO’s want to help out and improve the situation.

Regarding the two views on stray dogs about:

                                                            i) killing the dogs

                                                            ii) sterilizing the dogs,

                        I would like to give an example: tomorrow if someone introduces a life-saving drug that can cure people from HIV and AIDS, unless there are proven clinical data and trials, no one will accept that drug. Similarly, until it is proven that killing of the dogs will eliminate the problem of strays, without causing other problems, this method can not be considered.  

Arundhati:         If sterilization is proven to be the effective solution, why is not showing results?  

Lyla:                 It is showing results in the few pockets where it is undertaken, for eg. In South Mumbai , where I stay, and where the Welfare of Stray Dogs works. There is less funds available with the Animal Ngo’s, and hence the work is limited to their individual areas of operation.  

Arundhati:         The animal Ngo’s should raise the money and do the job. There are figures that show that since the 1998 High Court directive, the numbers of stray dogs in the city have increased and the number of dog bites have also.  

Lyla:                 These figures are not accurate as there has been no scientific dog count ever been undertaken in the city.  

Arundhati:         Who counts the dogs?  

Lyla:                 There is one scientific Dog Count System developed at Baltimore , and this has never been applied in Mumbai, hence all the figures are questionable. I have some data from MCGM hospitals about incidents to do with stray dogs:                                    


Rabies death/year



50-60 cases of rabies deaths every year

Noticeable decrease


15 rabies deaths  




Dog bites/year




Noticeable decrease




There is no reliable data available for the entire city, but in the area where we work in South Mumbai , the sterilization drive has shown noticeable results.  

Jyoti:                You can’t compare South Mumbai which is the cleanest area with the least human population density, with the slum areas.  

Tanya:              It is not a comparison; it is a demonstration of an effective solution to the problem.  

Mandakini:       These cases of stray dogs attacking and injuring humans are increasing in our area.  

Vinay:               So what is our suggestion to the MCGM?  

Mandakini:       MCGM should catch the dogs and do something.  

Tanya:              Catch the dogs and do what? What will the MCGM do with the 250-500-1000 dogs it catches from the dumping ground or from all over the city?  

Manoj:             The problem is complicated. We have approx. 250 ownerless stray dogs in our shelter in Pune, but this has not lessened the population of the stray dogs on the streets.

                        There are proven scientific tests conducted on mice, where 2 mice were kept in a controlled environment and allowed to breed. It was expected that a population of 1000 mice would be born after a specified time frame, but actual results showed that in the specified  time period, only 20-22 mice were born, and then the number stabilized and no further mice were born. On releasing the same mice in a larger area, the numbers again began to grow, thus showing that their population was linked to the space available.                       

                        A similar study was conducted on wild wolves in the forest. (Dogs are descended from the wolf family) where it was found that the wolves population was related to the number of deer in the forests. When the deer population reduced, the wolf populations also gradually declined. Further, when the wolf population grew beyond a certain point, some wolves themselves got sick and died, stabilizing the population once again. Hence Nature has an in-built Population Control Mechanism that is closely linked to their habitat.  

                        Hence in our endeavour to control the number of stray dogs, we need to identify this controlling factor.  

Vinay:               The MCGM is gearing up to go bin-less, where there will be reduction in visible waste in the city? Will this make the dogs more vicious as there is less food available?  

Lyla:                 Most of the stray dogs – almost 80 % - are attached to some source of food from humans, (not necessarily “elite”) like shop-keepers, slum dwellers, etc, and hence they will not starve when there is reduction in garbage available.  

Manoj:             When the garbage reduces, those animals that are dependent on it, will slowly get weak, diseased and die, thus reducing the numbers.  

Lyla:                 The increase in garbage has contributed partly to the increase in the stray dog population  

Jyoti:                There has been a considerable increase in waste, especially food waste, in the last few years, hence the corresponding increase in the dog population.  

Vinay:               Was any compensation available to Zeenat for the loss she suffered?  

Jyoti:                We were told to approach the CM.  

Tanya:              The stray dogs situation seems to be similar to the cleanliness problem, where the MCGM is not doing its job, and hence citizens and NGO’s need to step in and work with the MCGM on formulating a plan of work and then getting it implemented.  

Vinay:               If we leave aside for the moment, the killing caused by the stray dogs, and look at the rest of the situation of controlling the stray dog population, where is the document with the plan that states how this is to happen within a time frame?

                        It is not available with the MCGM, but does anybody else have it? Any animal NGO?  

Lyla:                 I agree, we need to make such a plan, with details of resources required, including monetary and others.  

Vinay:               If the existing NGO’s cannot cover the entire city, then they must either build their own capacity to expand their reach, or else other Ngo’s can come forward and take up their areas. For. Eg.: SMS can set up an Ngo to sterilize the dogs in its area of operation.  

Jyoti:                There are presently 5 lakh stray dogs in the city.  

Lyla:                 These figures are unverified, since there has been no accurate counting done.  

Vinay:               But we need a starting point to go ahead on? We need accurate figures.  

Arundhati:         In the 2007 Municipal elections, the citizens should be asked whether they want stray dogs or not.  

Vinay:               We cannot make this an emotional issue. It has to be dealt with in a scientific manner.



2nd part of meeting held with Mr.Ratho, at MCGM Annexe Bldg, 3rd floor  

Introductions were made  

Mr.Ratho:         Has any of the NGO’s/persons present today filed the present Case in the High Court regarding the killing of stray dogs?  

Lyla:                 No, that case was for Goa and Maharashtra and is likely to come up on the 13th of the next month.  

Vinay:               We have some literature from some of the animal NGO’s who are working in Mumbai for your reference (newsletter of WSD, brochure of PALS, and detailed list of all Dog Welfare NGOs)

                        We have observed that there are 2 positions on the stray dogs issue:

                                                            i) remove the dogs

                                                            ii) sterilize the dogs and remove the garbage  

Ratho:              If the garbage is removed, will the number of dogs reduce?  

Manoj:             There are 200-250 types of creatures in the city dependent on the urban environment, and nature decides how many of each species lives with the other in the same environment.

                        (Manoj again explained the in-built Population Control mechanism using the examples of the mice and wolves study)  

Vinay:               There was also a concern, that if the garbage reduces, the dogs may turn aggressive due to scarcity of food. I circulated this question on Karmayog, and we received a response from Thane SPCA, where they said that on reduction of garbage, the dog population reduced, and these dogs have not gone to other areas.  

Lyla:                 80% of stray dogs are taken care of by humans, they are called “ownerless pets”  

Ratho:              So, if waste gets reduced, the dogs won’t starve, but do the numbers reduce?  

Lyla:                 Therefore sterilization also needs to be done. This reduces aggression, and the animals are not re-located, but released in the same area from where they are taken. In fact, re-location can cause aggression, as the animals are very territorial.  

Jyoti:                Our case is a specific one, and we would like a solution.  

Ratho:              What do you suggest for the dumping ground?  

Lyla:                 Can we identify the rogue packs/dogs?  

Mada:              Yes, they can be identified.  

Ratho:              What exactly is the behaviour patter? Do the dogs enter the houses?  

Manda:             yes, they enter the houses.  

Zeenat:             My son and his friend were playing inside the dumping ground when a pack of 6-7 dogs came and attacked them. They attacked my son, and he was thrown to the ground. The other boy tried to help, but they turned on him, and he ran to get help. By the time he returned with help, the boy had been killed, and a pack of almost 25 dogs was around the body.  

Manda:             There have been instances in the past where hospital wastes with human body parts has been dumped in the dumping ground, and hence the dogs have developed a taste for human flesh.  

Ratho:              My understanding of the situation is that in an environment such as the dumping ground, maybe both the humans and dogs present are scavenging, and hence competing with each other in the same area. The dogs perceive the humans as a threat, and hence the attacks.

                        Even if we remove the present number of dogs in the dumping ground, other dogs will soon come in, as long as there is food available for them.  

Jyoti:                The dogs are now entering the settlements on the fringes outside also.  

Ratho:              The dogs are coming out of the dumping ground as the settlements have also increased.  

Manda:             The people have not increased.  

Ratho:              Could be that the dogs are threatened and hence are defending their territory of the dumping ground.  

Manoj:             We should formulate a strategy, that starts with estimating/recording the dog population through a formal/commissioned study carried out in a scientific manner that records the numbers, behaviour, growth pattern, etc of the dogs, certified by experts. We should also look at other examples/cities which have faced a similar problem, and how they have tackled it, and based on this, make a plan for Mumbai.  

Vinay:               In the existing situation, there are 6 NGO’s appointed by MCGM who are undertaking sterilization. These Ngo’s are working flat out as per their existing capabilities, but this is clearly not enough.

                        We need a plan for the sterilization of “x” number of strays in a target of 1 year by say “20” NGO’s of the capabilities of the existing ones. There can be norms in place for these NGO’s who will be invited by the MCGM, and paid for the work undertaken.

                        Further, MCGM’s present plan/strategy/policy/budget is not available easily for citizens to study and say whether it is effective or not.  

Ratho:              Even if the plan is available with the MCGM, the funds are not available.  

Vinay:               Yes, but it is very ad-hoc at the moment.  

Ratho:              I agree, hence the Court directed MCGM to undertake the sterilization of the dogs, which MCGM did in an ineffective manner, and is now telling the Court that it can’t be done by MCGM.  

Vinay:               The objective of our meeting with MCGM is that from the 2 simple viewpoints on stray dogs (i.e. remove all / sterilize all), we must make a plan for the stray dogs’ population control. This plan must include capacity building of NGO’s, MCGM, budget required, citizen awareness, etc.

This budget can be arranged from many sources such as the Corporators Fund, Corporates, MCGM budget, corporates, funding agencies, community orgs, etc.  

Ratho:              Our experience is that those who want to kill the stray dogs have the money, and those who favour sterilization require funds.  

Vinay:               For a start, people are unaware that sterilization is the cure to the problem.  

Ratho:              Has any NGO put together such a proposal that details what “resources” are required to do the job for Mumbai? If not, is any NGO willing to do so? If so, they should send an offer including what funds are required to undertake such a study.  

Lyla:                 In South Mumbai , it has been successfully implemented.  

Ratho:              Do you have the figures for this? How many dogs? What time frame? How much money? What other resources of people, space, etc?  

Lyla:                 I can get it.  

Ratho:              If MCGM has a proposal with figures that says in one year, all stray dogs will be sterilized, and it will cost “x” amount, then we can enthuse people to contribute towards a concrete result. The money will then be raised.  

Vinay:               I suggest a group/committee be formed of citizens/NGO’s and MCGM to address the polarized views of killing versus not killing of dogs.  

Lyla:                 It is agreed by animal Ngo’s also that rabid dogs must be put down, as they infect other dogs also.  

Vinay:               But “nuisance” causing dogs also need to be tackled.  

The Dog Control Rules of 2001, and the High Court Directive of 1998 – this information is not available, hence all information is through the media, and all reactions are a knee-jerk reaction to media reports.  

Hence a group with knowledge, expertise, intent and representing all views can take this issue forward and find a solution.  

Ratho:              I agree, a group can be formed.  

Vinay:               I propose that this group be formed through the established structure of the NGO Council.  

Tanya:              It is also essential to do the scientific dog count, on which the proposal can then be based, as at the moment, there are no figures to go on.  

Ratho:              Do the animal Ngo’s have a larger parent body, that takes up the policy issues, beyond implementation?  

Lyla:                 No, the Animal Ngo’s work together, but at the moment have no time to take on more.  

Vinay:               The NGO Council can formulate this policy.  

Manoj:             We need to identify the experts.  

Ratho:              The Ngo’s should be having the expertise or would know of the experts.  

Ratho:              OK - Make the Group.  

Vinay:               OK - I will convey that MCGM is interested in forming a group of citizens and NGOs to address the stray dog issue.

                        Any provision for compensation for a case such as Zeenat’s?  

Ratho:              There is no provision with the MCGM. The CM’s Relief Fund is an option.  

Vinay:               Can the Courts direct MCGM to give compensation?  

Ratho:              It is doubtful, as these people are technically not supposed to be in the vicinity of the dumping ground at all.  

Lyla:                 It is a complex situation, that covers many issues, beyond the stray dog.  

(The meeting concluded)  

Next steps:  

Those interested in being in the formal group pertaining to stray dog issues in Mumbai should contact Karmayog. 

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