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Article in The Times of India
Authored by Dr.Jayaprakash Narayan


National Coordinator of
VOTEINDIA movement

Keep the Dogs off the Street

When I was asked to write on civic issues, several problems came to mind so I settled on the simplest problem we all face - the problem of stray dogs on our streets. As we go out for our morning walks, as rag pickers descend on trash bins to make a precarious living, as domestic workers hurry to work, as postmen ride bicycles to deliver the mail, as children rush to catch the school bus, all of us are affected by the menace of stray dogs.

There are an estimated 200,000 stray dogs in Hyderabad city. In slums, residential areas, playgrounds, school zones shopping malls, function plazas, picnic spots ……. everywhere dogs have become a menace. Pedestrians and bicycle riders are often terrified as dogs chase them. Often youngsters are mauled by these stray dogs. A dog bite can lead to rabies, the deadliest infection known to man, and invariably fatal if not vaccinated. Anti-rabies vaccine is in short supply in government hospitals, and private supplies are unaffordable to most people.

No wonder, every single day a hundred children die of rabies in India. And there are instances of infants and toddlers having been attacked and killed by stray dogs.

Every major city and town all over the world has several rules and laws governing dogs. Stray dogs are not allowed to roam on the streets. They are either caught and killed, or protected in special facilities created by animal lovers. It is mandatory for pet dogs to be vaccinated, and have their licence number displayed on the collar. If a pet dog mauls a stranger on the pavement, the owner becomes liable. The owner must remove dog excreta. Violation of any of these rules entails heavy penalties. The streets of Paris were notorious for their stink and dog poop. Only recently a law has been made compelling the owners to remove the dog excreta.

Clearing our streets of stray dog menace is about the simplest civic problem. We all deserve to be safe on our roads. We deserve to be free from the fear of stray dogs. Our little children have a right to go out to play without being attacked by dogs.

The obvious solution is to remove stray dogs. Dogs can be kept off the streets and public places. Animals certainly deserve to be free and alive, but not at the cost of our safety and peace of mind. The city government has to act. It costs little, is simple to enforce and easy to implement.

Animal lovers will cavil at the idea of dogs being captured. One can understand such consternation, but then such animal rights groups have an obligation to society too. Their resources and energies can be directed at building safe homes and providing protection for stray dogs. In any case, our streets and parks and public places should be safe for children and pedestrians, and the menace of stray dogs should end.





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