the Dogs off the Street
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.
are an estimated 200,000 stray dogs in Hyderabad city. In
slums, residential areas, playgrounds, school zones shopping
malls, function plazas, picnic spots
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.