Who let the stray animals out?

‘Toddler mauled by a pack of stray dogs,’ read the headline in Chandigarh newpapers.  Not the wolves in the periphery but the stray dogs in the heart of the city attacked and killed an eighteen month old baby boy. Shocking! Horrifying it is, but certainly not an isolated case of canine assault.  In fact, incidents of dog bites and attacks are a common occurrence in Chandigarh.

With the increasing population of stray dogs, the problem has assumed menacing proportion, not just in the tri-city but all over the country except for Nagaland and a few North–Eastern states. Stray dog can be found roaming about freely at all places-lanes, markets, parks, tourist spots and even public hospitals. Quoting from the lyrics of a hugely popular song of 2000, in disgust and anguish, I ask, “Who let the dogs out?”

While the dogs rule the roost in our country, I wonder why there are no stray dogs in the west. Half a dozen developed countries that I have visited, not a single stay dog did I spot. The four legged creatures that I did see, however, were pets, of different breeds and sizes, escorted by their masters to parks, markets and public places. Unlike India, where a pet dog is taken for a walk to poo and piss, in the west owners ensure that their dogs do not litter on the streets. It was a surprise for me to see the dog owners scoop dog shit in a polythene bag and drop it in the trash bin.

These are not the dogs alone that are having a free run in our country but in many cities and towns in India, abandoned cows and many stray animals are let loose on the road posing a traffic hazard. I wonder how come all the stray animals can be found roaming about in our country, but not elsewhere in the world. In the west, you find domestic animals in the sheds, pets with their masters but no stray animals on the streets and roads. In the sprawling greens of Switzerland cows can be seen grazing in the fields, hear cow bells jingling, but never see the animals cross their territory to intrude into human domain. A thought to ponder over!

I wonder if we really are an animal loving nation.  Do we really care for the animals and revere cows? If so, abandoned animals should not be seen in the country in a pathetic state gorging on waste. It is painful to see the deserted animals wander here and there; sleep on the roads and die of hunger, disease or an accident. We are queer animal loving people, don’t believe in slaughter but allow the animals be treated shabbily.

Letting the stray dogs, and for that matter, all strays wander freely in human habitation to become a menace, is neither kindness to  the animals nor in the interest of the man. Surely it’s a case of ill-conceived compassion and misplaced priorities!


 (Published in H T Chandigarh (Guest Column) on 15 July 2018)

22 Replies to “Who let the stray animals out?”

  1. You are so right ma’am. This is a thought on which society as well as government need to look upon.
    This is not the case only in Chandigarh but the whole country is a prey to this.
    Even the pet dogs have become harmful aa their masters do not keep them under absolute control.
    I am afraid, the day would come soon when no one would let their child step out of their home to play or have some recreational time.

    1. Niharika, there are all sorts of animals everywhere -wild,domestic and pets but in India we have another category, the stray cattle and dogs, a menace unique to India.

  2. I find this article very well presented and researched upon. ‘ Misplaced’ priority is a right phrase used here. I rang up municiple coropration a few years back and requested them to remove about 8 to 10 dogs who had become permanent problematic feature of our lane. They responded after ten days and only sterlized them coz there is no provosion to rehabilitate them… and the menace continued.

    1. Yes Kamini I do feel we need to set our priorities right.
      In fact, the law doesn’t permit displacement of the the stray dogs, hence after sterilisation the dogs are left in the same area. No wonder the menace continues.

  3. Rama you have expressed the feelings of many. We have misplaced priorities.
    One of our neighbors is a dog lover. She feeds the animals every day morning and evening. Its a nuisance for the whole area. They sit under the cars or on top of the cars and bite children. Now she feed them and then pushes them int other lanes. Feed time and they are back.

    1. Once l visited the rehab centre in 38 sector owned by spca .l had gone to offer milk n bread to about 50 supposed inmates I.e. dogs n cows. But surprisingly only 5 were available that day.!!

    2. Yes Alka this is the scenario.The dog lovers feed the stray dogs but can’t possibly adopt and keep them permanently. Hence,ultimately it becomes the responsibility of the municipality to take action that neither has the will nor the resources.

    1. The article is true picture on the subject.The Govt is suppose to bring legislation and act
      Very nice article beta. thanks

  4. Dear Ma’am,
    This comprehensive and objective article made me reconsider my conduct. Now, I’m guilty of being feeding the dogs of my entire neighbourhood, though I did adopt two from their litter. But, now that I make myself not be swayed over by the unconditional love that I have for this species, I behold that the principal constituent contributing to the rise of strays in India is the careless waste disposal method. Forbye, we have the Animal Birth Control Rules, 2001, which requires stray dogs to be spayed or neutered but is not implemented in letter and spirit.

    1. Glad to know that u are a dog lover and have adopted two dogs. Mahima, Please ensure that you keep the dogs and don’t allow them to become a nuisance for others.It is good to be compassionate towards all living being but we need to set our priorities right.
      I agree with you that the most amicable solution lies in carrying out the the dog sterilisation programme earnestly.

    1. Yes Ms Behl municipality has to take action but when it does, many a times the dog lovers make a lot of hue and cry.

  5. Stray dogs are real problem these days.u can’t go for walk early in the morning, can’t send your children alone , and specially old people like us are very scared . Suppose while returning back from evening walk dog or dogs are after you.out of nervous ness u fell down ,u are sure to fracture your brittle bones . Imagine bed-ridden hospitalised dependent frail patients This picture has nothing to do to animal lovers and lawmakers .we feel bad ,no doubt, but forget as there is no way . while reading this eye opener article I am really thankful to the writer, at least,she has tried to tell the grave situation to the administration.I sincerely feel obliged

    1. Oh ! Mrs Behl your concern and apprehensions are so genuine… I wish some action is taken to mitigate the problem.

  6. Very nyc article about the genuine and common problem of nowadays regarding stray dogs and animals….really it’s time to take action against all these by our municipal corporations ……let’s hope so

  7. My sentiments exactly about the stray animals. You have verbalized my angst so well I couldn’t have managed to do so.I constantly suffer from my next door neighbours excessive love for stray dogs and an innate dislike for humans.He literally leads a secluded life only to show his love for canines in the mornings and evenings. As a result
    Walking on the street has become hazardous. All efforts to stop him have failed so far.

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