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
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
Let me summarize the situation, as we know of it, with the
existing information available:
are several committees in Mumbai for stray dogs, one of which is
the High Court Committee that has 15 members on board.
is also an MCGM – Animal Ngo Committee with 6 NGO’s appointed by
MCGM to undertake sterilization of dogs.
animal NGO’s are in touch with each other, and meet if there are
specific issues to tackle like for eg,: the Russian Circus.
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
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
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.
Lets not get bogged down by the rules, and instead apply
our common sense to the problem.
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.
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
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.
incidents were covered in the news by Sandeep Achare of Loksatta,
who has studied the situation in detail.
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.
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.
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.
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
As you yourself had mentioned, the garbage is the problem
in this case.
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
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.
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.
If sterilization is proven to be the effective solution,
why is not showing results?
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.
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.
These figures are not accurate as there has been no scientific
dog count ever been undertaken in the city.
Who counts the dogs?
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
cases of rabies deaths every year
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
You can’t compare South Mumbai
which is the cleanest area with the least human population density,
with the slum areas.
It is not a comparison; it is a demonstration of an effective
solution to the problem.
These cases of stray dogs attacking and injuring humans are
increasing in our area.
So what is our suggestion to the MCGM?
MCGM should catch the dogs and do something.
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?
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.
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?
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.
When the garbage reduces, those animals that are dependent
on it, will slowly get weak, diseased and die, thus reducing the
The increase in garbage has contributed partly to the increase
in the stray dog population
There has been a considerable increase in waste, especially
food waste, in the last few years, hence the corresponding increase
in the dog population.
Was any compensation available to Zeenat for the loss she
We were told to approach the CM.
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.
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?
I agree, we need to make such a plan, with details of resources
required, including monetary and others.
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
There are presently 5 lakh stray dogs in the city.
These figures are unverified, since there has been no accurate
But we need a starting point to go ahead on? We need accurate
In the 2007 Municipal elections, the citizens should be asked
whether they want stray dogs or not.
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
Has any of the NGO’s/persons present today filed the present
Case in the High Court regarding the killing of stray dogs?
No, that case was for Goa and Maharashtra
and is likely to come up on the 13th of the next month.
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
i) remove the dogs
ii) sterilize the dogs and remove the garbage
If the garbage is removed, will the number of dogs reduce?
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)
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.
80% of stray dogs are taken care of by humans, they are called
So, if waste gets reduced, the dogs won’t starve, but do
the numbers reduce?
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.
Our case is a specific one, and we would like a solution.
What do you suggest for the dumping ground?
Can we identify the rogue packs/dogs?
Yes, they can be identified.
What exactly is the behaviour patter? Do the dogs enter the
yes, they enter the houses.
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.
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.
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
The dogs are now entering the settlements on the fringes
The dogs are coming out of the dumping ground as the settlements
have also increased.
The people have not increased.
Could be that the dogs are threatened and hence are defending
their territory of the dumping ground.
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.
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
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
Even if the plan is available with the MCGM, the funds are
Yes, but it is very ad-hoc at the moment.
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.
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.
budget can be arranged from many sources such as the Corporators
Fund, Corporates, MCGM budget, corporates, funding agencies, community
Our experience is that those who want to kill the stray dogs
have the money, and those who favour sterilization require funds.
For a start, people are unaware that sterilization is the
cure to the problem.
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.
In South Mumbai , it has been successfully implemented.
Do you have the figures for this? How many dogs? What time
frame? How much money? What other resources of people, space, etc?
I can get it.
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.
I suggest a group/committee be formed of citizens/NGO’s and
MCGM to address the polarized views of killing versus not killing
It is agreed by animal Ngo’s also that rabid dogs must be
put down, as they infect other dogs also.
But “nuisance” causing dogs also need to be tackled.
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.
a group with knowledge, expertise, intent and representing all views
can take this issue forward and find a solution.
I agree, a group can be formed.
I propose that this group be formed through the established
structure of the NGO Council.
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.
Do the animal Ngo’s have a larger parent body, that takes
up the policy issues, beyond implementation?
No, the Animal Ngo’s work together, but at the moment have
no time to take on more.
The NGO Council can formulate this policy.
We need to identify the experts.
The Ngo’s should be having the expertise or would know of
OK - Make the Group.
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?
There is no provision with the MCGM. The CM’s Relief Fund
is an option.
Can the Courts direct MCGM to give compensation?
It is doubtful, as these people are technically not supposed
to be in the vicinity of the dumping ground at all.
It is a complex situation, that covers many issues, beyond
the stray dog.
(The meeting concluded)
Those interested in being in the formal group pertaining to stray dog
issues in Mumbai should contact Karmayog.