ABC of dog-human conflict; civic body rot exposed

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By Bhavna Pant

New Delhi, March 3: Mauling of toddlers to death by stray dogs has once more brought knee-jerk reactions from stakeholders, who continue to turn blind eyes to the civic body apathy to deal with the issues as laid down by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Leave aside the families of the victims, political leaders to ordinary citizens who dislike stray dogs or see them dispensable demand that like other developed countries we should also eliminate strays. It lasts till the matter cools down again. After sometime new dogs fill the vacuum and no one talks about those innocent dogs who suffered or killed because of some ferocious dogs.

Research world-wide have proved that birth control operations alone could reduce the number of strays and not the inhumane methods as used to be adopted in earlier days in absence of animal rights laws in the country. Some years back in Bangalore dogs were killed brutally after some incidents of dog attack happened in Bellary. Over 100 Street dogs whose mouth and legs were tied with metal wires thrown into the forest and many other were bitten to death or thrown out of the municipal limits.

In 2015 in Kerala same story happened after some dog attack incidents resulted in public killing of stray dogs. Some people, including a prominent businessman, had offered bounties for such killing.

Social media was full with disturbing pictures of people killing innocent dogs even puppies and taking their bodies to get the prize .That brutal action, as per the NGOs data, killed approximately 40,000 dogs in Kerala. The Kerala government wants to kill all the stray dogs but after the public outcry across India and Supreme Court intervention it was prevented in time.

The problem of stray dogs and human conflict need to be addressed in a civilized manner. We always look to the west for the solution but we should realize that our culture and tradition is pole apart from West. Dogs or stray dogs have coexisted with humans from the Vedic ages. There is an instance where everyone left behind Yudhishthir but a dog went to heaven with him with the eldest of ‘Pandav brothers’ refusing to enter the raven without his faithful pet.

In the Kali Bhairav temple at Varanasi one can see Shiva riding a white dog and also paintings and statues of several other dogs. In folk traditions, the god Mallanna is worshipped as a dog . A Himalayan Hindu festival Kukur Tihar is tied to a belief that dogs are the messenger of Yamraj, the god of death. Deities like Rudra, Nirriti and Virabhadra are associated with dogs. Dattatreya is associated with four dogs considered to symbolise the four Vedas. In our culture and tradition for ages, it is said that take out first roti for the cow, second for the dog and some food for crows.

We are taught to live in harmony with nature, animals, birds and even care for the smallest insects. The WHO has also mentioned in one of its report that mass killing or relocation of dogs is not the solution. Dogs are territorial animals and if they are moved from a specific area, the void formed will cause other dogs to migrate here. They can create more problem. They may not be vaccinated or sterilized.

ABC is the only civilized, humane, and scientific solution to control the stray dog population. Sterilized female dogs don’t come on heat and fight among male dogs over female dogs. It considerably reduces their aggression levels during mating season. Second most important time when aggression happens in dogs is when female dogs guard their newborn puppies, most of the biting cases occur on these two occasions. (To be concluded …)

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