You can't wish away the strays... but what's the way out?
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You can't wish away the strays... but what's the way out?

City Spidey, during a recce of the trans-Hindon Area, finds out two defining strands of thought on the subject. Read on...


You can't wish away the strays... but what's the way out?

The stray dog menace has become one of the commonest worries of the residents of high-rises these days in Delhi-NCR, and so is the case with trans-Hindon Area. In a survey conducted by City Spidey of over a dozen societies in the area, the growing stray menace was found to be a major concern for the residents.

The incidents of dogs attacking residents, children and domestic help have instilled panic among the residents of area. 

In Amrapali Village, Indirapuram, a resident had recently filed a police complaint against the RWA after repeated incidents of tearing down of his scooty cover by a stray dog; in Paramount Symphony, Crossings Republik, a stray dog had bitten two children and one lady about a week ago.

The two sides

Such cases have left the residents jittery and also started a debate between dog lovers and the rest over finding a feasible solution to the problem. The opinions are divided into two ideologies.

One section wants to completely restrict the entry of strays (and in some cases even pets) on the premises, while the other group suggests that people should learn to co-exist with dogs. 

Kuldeep Dubey, a resident of Supertech Livingston, said the stray dogs are a threat to the safety of all the residents, especially small children. "Every now and then we keep hearing news of strays attacking and biting small children. There needs to be a solution to this menace," he added.

Sumedha Iyer, president of People for Animals (PFA), said that humans have a tendency to control inferior species. “We tend to do the same in case of dogs because of our pre-conceived notions without knowing whether these actions are lawful or not.” 

Iyer recalled a case of ATS Advantage, Indirapuram, where a lady was bitten by a pet dog and the AOA had ordered the dog owners to cover their dogs’ mouth with a muzzle. “It’s cruel,” said Iyer, “unlike humans, dogs do not sweat. They abstract their body heat from the mouth and covering it for long can lead to cardiac arrest.”

And, as per the Animal Welfare Board of India’s notification, it’s illegal, she added.

Ghaziabad Municipal Corporation has given the contract of vaccination and sterilisation of stray dogs to PFA. Iyer claimed the organisation has sterilised and vaccinated over 90 percent of street dogs in the trans-Hindon area.

But one cannot ignore the rising incidents where people have been attacked by strays on and off the society premises. Just a few days ago, residents of Supertech Ecociti in Noida’s Sector 137 had organised a candle march to protest against stray dog menace in their society.

Iyer said that these cases only happen when dogs are deprived of food. “Scientifically speaking, dogs only bite when they are depressed after being hungry for a long time,” she said.

She added that in high-rises, dogs don’t find food easily. “And if people try to feed them, they face the wrath of other residents, which is again, unconstitutional,” she said.

The Article 51(a) of the Indian Constitution states that it shall be the duty of every citizen to protect and improve the natural environment and to have compassion for living creatures.

Apathy towards Indie breeds

Pooja Shrivastava, a resident of Ajnara Gen-X in Crossings Republik, says that the hypocrisy of dog lovers is adding to the apathy towards strays.

“Most of the dog lovers attach status symbol with international breeds. I have seen owners of these dogs carrying sticks to restrain stray dogs coming near to their pets. Instead, they should promote feeding and adopting of street dogs,” she said.

The roadmap ahead...

Dog lovers feel that the only long-lasting solution for the problem is that people with pets should start adopting strays and develop feeding corners on the premises.

“The issue can only be solved if every dog lover starts adopting indigenous breed aka stray dogs. Each society should have feeding corners where the stray dogs could be fed,” said Pooja.

Kaushik Ghosh, a resident of Regalia Heights, said that a group of residents from his society have been regularly feeding around thirteen dogs for many years and they haven’t witnessed a single incident of a dog bite till now. “They all guard our compound and have become a part of the society,” he said.

Lipika Bhushan, a resident of ATS Advantage, also suggested that the problem could be solved by feeding and training strays as watchdogs. “Especially in independent housing societies, these dogs can help in better surveillance of the society.”

Iyer also suggested a comprehensive approach to the issue.

“Rapid urbanisation has snatched away the natural territories of dogs. Instead of shooing them away, people should introduce themselves and their kids to the dogs, and provide them shelter. It will help build compassion towards animals in their kids,” she said.