ByÂ Umika Sharma:
Ramu is a stray dog. Nobody knows where he came from. Nobody knows what his breed is. Nobody knows whether he is sterilized or not. People in my street have given him an unusual name. But one thing that everybody knows is that he is a nuisance. He is a nuisance because he barks late at night and early in the morning. He is a nuisance because he sneaks inside the warm houses of people the moment he gets a chance. He is a nuisance because he steals food He is a nuisance because he keeps strangers away from his street and snarls at new people. He is a nuisance because he wants to be loved.
This is not the story of just one dog. There are millions like this dog in every corner of this country. Our culture teaches us that every form of life is a part of God. Even animals are another form of God. But we forget this simple teaching when we beat these stray dogs black and blue and run them over by our cars. Sometimes we go to the extent of even poisoning them. We forget that they are also a form of life; they also need food and shelter to survive. They also need love.
Being a city dog is not an easy task. It starts in their infancy when they have to fight with their siblings for their mother’s milk. That mother who herself was a street dog and never got proper food her entire life. After this, these pups have to survive the streets where everyday either they are crushed under vehicles or are shooed away by humans. Those few who survive all this are not that lucky as this is when their lifelong battle with the streets and people begins.
During this battle, these dogs have to endure a lot. They are beaten up by people, treated extremely badly, run over by vehicles, have to live in filth and never get proper food. Some people go to the extent of poisoning these dogs to get rid of them. Those who care for these dogs are shunned by their neighbours for causing the so-called menace of stray dogs in the locality. What people fail to understand here is that why these dogs create such trouble. The simple answer lies in them not getting proper food and shelter. People who want to keep pets go for expensive purebred dogs and forget the fact that there is another homeless, equally loyal dog down the street that has to search for food every single day of its existence.
The menace of stray dogs is not limited to India; it is very much there in other countries like United States of America and United Kingdom. In 2010, there was a proposal in Bucharest to kill sick and aggressive dogs and those in shelters who are not adopted after seven days. These kinds of policies are not new and have been seen in a number of countries. There are countries which even follow these policies.
But killing these stray dogs is not an effective measure to tackle the problem, adopting them and treating them as a life form is. Instead of considering these dogs a nuisance we should consider them as friends and treat them properly. They crave for proper food, shelter and a bit of love. If we provide them that, then they can peacefully coexist along with us.
A more effective solution can be to capture these dogs, sterilize them and then restore them back to where they came from. This kind of a policy ensures that they are not ruthlessly killed. This also keeps a check on their growing population. This measure has been undertaken in a number of countries and even in India. Also, proper NGO’s can be set up to pick up these unwanted dogs and make them available for adoption. People should be encouraged to adopt these street dogs instead of buying expensive dogs.
The need of the hour is to not consider these dogs a menace and instead try to understand the reason behind their behaviour. All they need is a little care and love. A friendly pat on the head or giving some of these dogs some food is more than enough to control them.