Gurgaon debates... How should strays living on society premises be treated?
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Gurgaon debates... How should strays living on society premises be treated?

Some feel they are a part of the housing society and mustn't  be relocated, others -- not so tolerant -- perceive these animals as threats to safety of children and others.    

Gurgaon debates... How should strays living on society premises be treated?

Some residents of Gurgaon would like to call them strays who need to be loved and nurtured and are very much a part of any group housing society as their residents. While others would like to add the word ‘menace’ to them and consider them a risk to the safety of their kids and fellow residents.

And there starts the never-ending debates and fights between the dog lovers who want strays to be considered as “community dogs” and the other group who want strays to stay out of their posh condos.

The residents’ version

Earlier this month, a 4-year-old boy was attacked by stray dogs at Fresco society in Sector 50, Gurgaon. The boy had multiple wounds and had to be hospitalised.

In October last year, the residents of Ridgewood Estate in DLF Phase 4 had taken out a protest march in their society against those who feed strays.

DN Khanduja, RWA member of Ridgewood, said that there are about 16-17 stray dogs living in the society who often attack the residents, especially children playing in the parks. “We have filed so many complaints on the matter to the MCG but nothing has been done so far. This is all because of a bunch of people who feed them and want them to stay in the society. These dogs are a threat to the safety of our kids and residents.”

Kavita Agrawal Banka, a resident of Princeton Estate in DLF Phase 5, said that the residents usually do not have a problem with these dogs unless there's some incident.

“We have a few strays living in the society and one of them is very violent. Just recently, the dog attacked a kid even without any provocation. Our kids are frightened of even going to the society park to play. Despite filing complaints, nothing has been done because of some residents who like to call themselves dog lovers and don’t even allow this one dog to be taken to a dog shelter,” said Kavita.

Dog lover’s stand

Dog lovers say that the residents need to understand that they can’t forcibly push these dogs out as these are “community dogs” who have every right to live in their territory. “In some of these societies, these dogs have been living for as long as past 6-7 years. They don’t harm anyone unless they are provoked or hurt,” said Chetna Joshi, a resident of Kendriya Vihar in Sector 56, who has been for long working with animal welfare groups.

“There are about 26 community dogs in my society. I look after their food and vaccination. But I always face resistance from the residents who sometimes get even violent and abusive as they want to get rid of these dogs,” added Joshi.

The dog lovers say that they not only feed strays but also look after their vaccination and sterilisation. They even get them treatment and take them to vet whenever required.

There is another saddening side to the story – where animosity towards strays is reaching a new low. On January 13, a case was reported in Sector 82 where two men had allegedly brutally thrashed a stray dog and killed it. A complaint was lodged and the accused were arrested and later granted bail.

“Strays are not ferocious by nature, they become so after years of torture and hunger. All these incidents are painting a very grave future for everyone,” said Kavita Bagga, a resident of Rajokri, who has six dogs and is also a mother to a one-and-a-half years old daughter. She runs a private business and has vowed to contribute a significant amount of her earnings towards the welfare of strays.

Is there a solution in sight?

“The situation is not as bad as is being projected. Almost 75-80 percent of strays in the city are sterilised, which is also the number that is allowed,” added Joshi. “Rather than devising plans on how to throw strays out of their premises, societies should provide designated feeding areas for the stray and stop being so angry at dog feeders.”

Bagga, however, says that dog lovers should also keep the residents informed about the sterilisation and vaccination chart of these stays. “Dog lovers also need to understand that they can’t force everyone to become one, however, they can help people realise that both the residents and strays can live peacefully under the same roof,” added Bagga.

Not everyone agrees to that. “While we aren’t opposed to strays living in our society, there needs to be a provision under which if a dog is ferocious by nature and attacks kids, it can be relocated from the premises. We can’t risk the safety of our kids,” added Kavita from Princeton.

Probably the debate will never end, but hopefully the fights will.