This weeks post comes to us from R.K., in Bhilai, Chhattisgarh, India. Thanks R.K. for the photos and information!
An article from an Indian website starts with the author saying that he finds India amazing. He loves the city life and is impressed with everything he observes. Except stray dogs.
He feels that stray dogs are the single biggest menace to society! He adds that they carry diseases, dirty up places and are harmful to people generally. He goes on to say that if he were a Government officer he would order them all killed.
This comes from an Indian – a race that has always been among the most peaceful of all. As another Indian I can only add that all he says applies equally to a very large majority of Indian humans too - so, should we kill them all too?
Dogs, as we all know, are the sweetest creatures of mankind – the only animal that can give pure unadulterated love, even to the hand that hits him. And, all they look for is love & compassion, and yes, a little bit of food too. I have found that if I feed a stray for 2-3 days consecutively, he adopts my family. Every time my aged mother or young daughter go out for a walk or visit someone nearby, they follow at a respectably close distance and accompany them to and fro ensuring that they face no problems from anyone.
Last year, around this time, the Kashmir authorities vowed to kill 100,000 stray dogs in an anti – rabies drive. This, at a time when we have laws in India that make it illegal to maim or injure an animal even if purposely done by a car. Punishments are fines and / or imprisonments of up to five years.
Unfortunately, this entire (rabid) witch hunting owes itself to India having the dubious distinction of suffering the highest rabies fatality rate.
Ultimately, it’s the most sinful thought possible. To kill defenseless lovable creatures just because they suffer from diseases that were caused by the filth that the Government allows and does not clean up is one way of bolting the stable door after the horse has run away. The authorities should ensure that the civic hygiene is of a standard that does not allow stray dogs to catch diseases, nor to transmit them. So far as rabies is concerned, the dogs can be given anti-rabies treatment just as it is given to pet dogs.
The life of a living being should not depend on the basis of its being a pet or a stray.
***Editors Note ***
According to an article by the Canadian Medical Association Journal, over the past 23 years, on average 1000 people each year die from rabies in India (which is far less then AIDS and TB). "The majority of people who die of rabies are people of poor or low-income socioeconomic status." In any society, when there is people poverty there is animal poverty, and with both an excess of illness. Hence the both social and health importance of paying attention to the stray dog population.
Menezes, Rozario. "Public health: Rabies in India." PubMed Central Homepage. 16 Feb. 2009