Every time a child is mauled or killed by stray dogs in Bangalore, all the usual questions come up. The death of a two-year-old thus July lead to another round, but the city remains divided on what to do.
Dr Sheila Rao, Trustee of Compassion Unlimited Plus Action (CUPA) one of the AWOs that carries on BBMP's ABC programme, says that birth control can be effective if done properly. For this, 70% of the population within an area should be sterilized within one mating cycle (6 months), or at least within one year, she says. "If you make an actual check of old Bangalore areas (the original 100 wards) you will find that 90% of the dogs are operated (Clipped ears)", she adds.
"In, Bangalore, the problem is that many new areas have been added on, and these areas will take maybe another three to four years to be covered", says Sheila. She also says that some dogs remain uncaught because there are many covered drains that they can disappear into, many vacant sites where dog catching staff cannot enter, many army areas with open fields where catching is difficult.
Diana dismisses ABC altogether and says that crores of rupees is wasted on the ABC programme. She says that for ABC to be effective, 70% of the dogs in a locality should be sterilized within one breeding cycle. " This is just not possible. The only solution is to put the dogs to sleep humanely," she says.
Adoption remains a trend
The debate apart, while stray dogs are generally perceived as a threat, some are being adopted by local residents as 'community dogs'. Ram N K, 43, a resident of 4th Phase JP Nagar says that residents on his street have informally adopted three strays. "A few weeks back, a man tried to steal taps outside the houses at 4 am. The dogs raised an alarm by barking persistently and the neighbours woke up and took the thief to task," he says.
He adds that a similar incident happened some years ago when the dogs chased thieves who were trying to steal car stereos. "If more people adopt strays and look after them, get them medically treated, it will benefit the residents and the canines," says Ram.
Moved by the plight of stray dogs, especially motherless puppies, Achala Pani, 26, a resident of Malleshwaram, started an NGO ‘Let's Live Together' in 2009. The NGO holds adoption camps every month at Sankey Tank in Malleshwaram, where stray puppies which have lost their mothers are put up for adoption for a donation of Rs 500. The puppies are bathed and vaccinated and after eight months can be sterilised. A BBMP pet license is also given at the camps. In two years, more than 200 puppies have been adopted.
"We discriminate strays from bred dogs and think strays are dirty and useless. They are as loyal and loving as any dogs." She says that instead of calling them strays, we need to think of them as Indian dogs. "If more people adopted strays and not splurge thousands of rupees on bred dogs, there wouldn't be many dogs on the streets," she says. ⊕