The menace of stray dogs in India: a crisis of proportions | News from India

A horrible viral video of stray dogs mauling a four-year-old boy to death in a housing society in Hyderabad has left people scarred for life.
This is not the first time that stray dogs have killed or attacked vulnerable members of society.
Incidents of animals that attack humans have also made headlines several times.
Why are there so many stray dogs in India? Whose fault is it? And what should be done to resolve the problem?
The population of India… 1.4 people in a relatively small territory.
India is about a third the size of the United States and yet it is the second most populous country in the world. Extremely crowded conditions and population density are just some of the reasons for the number of stray dogs.

Stray Dog Menace: How to Solve the Stray Dog Problem | How to Control Stray Dogs

Why are there so many stray dogs in India?
There are currently more than 10 million pet dogs in the country. By this year, that number is expected to reach 30 million. Compare that with India’s stray dog ​​population – around 35 million – and it’s easy to see that there is a real problem that India has on its hands.
How did this happen in the first place?
The problem goes far beyond just the sheer numbers of humans and dogs. To begin with, India does not have effective systems for animal health and control.
Therefore, no proper measures are taken to keep animals healthy and stray animals under control. This lack of proper animal control measures has led to uncontrolled breeding of stray dogs, resulting in a massive population explosion.
Additionally, many people abandon their pets or let them roam free, contributing to an increase in the stray dog ​​population. It is morally wrong. There are options to abandon your pet if you can no longer care for it. Consider a shelter or try to find a good home.
However, the problem is not only the number of stray dogs, but also their behavior. Stray dogs often form packs and become aggressive, attacking humans and other animals. These attacks can very well be deadly, as we saw in the recent horrific incident in Hyderabad.
According to the National Crime Records Bureau, 4,146 cases of dog bites resulting in death were reported in India in 2019. This is a staggering number that highlights the seriousness of the problem.
According to official data, with around 290,000 street dogs, the Indian state of Kerala does not even feature in the list of top 10 Indian states with the most stray dogs. In terms of dog bites, Kerala reported around 100,000 cases in just seven months in 2022.
The problem is neither new nor even recent in Kerala like in other states.
Experts say that improper waste disposal, animals abandoned on the streets and, most importantly, inadequate sterilization and vaccination of dogs are the main reasons for the problem that regularly plagues the state.
Who is responsible for this situation?
Is it the government, individuals or animal protection organizations?
The answer is all of the above.
The government has failed to implement effective measures to control the stray dog ​​population and ensure their welfare.
Animal welfare organizations are doing their best to provide health care and shelter to stray animals, but their efforts alone are not enough.
Individuals must also take responsibility for their pets and not contribute to the stray dog ​​population.
As a result, millions of dogs are not properly vaccinated, animal waste is not maintained as it should be, and many dogs are abandoned and living on the streets. This creates a bigger problem.
India has laws in place that make it illegal to remove a dog from the street. Furthermore, these same dogs cannot be hunted. So, once a dog is on the street, it has the “right” to stay there unless it is adopted.
The only thing that can happen is that the dog is sterilized and vaccinated. After that, the dog is returned to the street. While Indian law helps protect innocent dogs, it also creates an ideal environment for the stray dog ​​problem to flourish and thrive.
What should be done to solve the problem once and for all?
The solution to this problem requires a multi-pronged approach. Above all, the government must implement effective animal control and waste management measures to eliminate open littering on the roads.
As in many developed countries, there should be penalties for people who litter or don’t clean up after their dogs. Trash cans and trash cans must also be made available and maintained.
The government must also implement sterilization programs, vaccination campaigns and effective enforcement of laws against pet abandonment and control of stray dogs.
Mass culls are not a long-term solution and are considered unethical by many parties. The government must work with animal welfare organizations to provide adequate healthcare and housing to stray animals.
Individuals also have a role to play in solving this problem. They must take responsibility for their pets and not abandon them or let them roam freely without a leash.
Many people buy a dog without understanding normal dog behavior. For example, a puppy normally experiences teething and biting and many owners, due to lack of knowledge, think that the dog is aggressive or biting.
Many cage their dogs in India’s hot climes for hours without giving them any attention or care. Many completely shave the fur off a dog’s coat in the summer instead of professionally trimming it, unaware that a dog’s coat helps the animal cope with heat and discomfort.
Shaving the coat completely also makes the dog vulnerable to serious illnesses. If you are purchasing a dog or pet, please consider the many credible training programs that exist and have proven to work.
Owners must also cooperate with training programs and many dog ​​owners are simply not willing to invest the time. Remember, just like human children, a dog becomes difficult to manage and even aggressive if training, care and routine are not provided by its owners.
In addition to this, there is a need to raise awareness about responsible pet ownership and the dangers of feeding stray animals. Citizens should start reporting stray dogs to animal welfare organizations.
The media should also play a crucial role in this by highlighting the issue and promoting responsible pet ownership, as this video currently does. The Indian government has taken various steps to tackle the problem of stray dogs in the country.
In 2001, the ABC (Animal Birth Control) program was introduced by the government, aiming to control the stray dog ​​population through sterilization and vaccination. The program is implemented by local municipalities and NGOs, with financial assistance from the government.
Additionally, the Indian government passed the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, which prohibits cruelty to animals, including stray dogs. The law states that every owner of an animal is responsible for its welfare and that it is illegal to abandon a pet or allow it to wander.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also repeatedly spoken about the importance of adopting dogs and taking care of them. In his monthly radio address ‘Mann ki Baat’ in January 2020, he urged people to adopt Indian dog breeds and not discriminate against them.
He pointed out that Indian dogs are very loyal and can adapt well to the Indian climate and environment and added that adopting a dog is like bringing a new family member into the house.
In response to the Kerala state government’s proposal to cull “aggressive and rabid” dogs, animal rights activists say it is crucial to tackle the root causes of the problem. Rather than resorting to mass killings, implementing birth control programs, creating responsible systems for responsible feeding of stray animals, and working with social welfare groups is the long-term solution.
The government has also provided guidelines for the management of stray dogs, which include sterilization, vaccination and adoption programs. The good news is that these measures are in place.
What needs to be worked on, especially after the recent horrific videos of stray dogs attacking children on social media, is the implementation of all these measures, which is currently insufficient due to lack of funding, local leaders corrupt and/or underinvested, resources, and coordination between different government agencies.
Rebuilding trust is also necessary between humans and animals. This should be done by clearing up confusion and concerns about dogs.
It is clear that more action and awareness is needed at the local and individual levels to effectively address the root of the problem in an ethical and long-term manner.


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