Delhi HC suggests special spots to feed strays: Spot on, say animal lovers
In almost every other neighbourhood in Delhi, there’s this constant battle between the animal lovers who want to feed strays and the other residents who feel it’s unsafe to do so when animals are in close proximity to residential areas. Recently, three animal lovers filed a petition against one Residents’ Welfare Association (RWA) in Vasant Kunj for hindering feeding of stray dogs. And now, the Delhi High Court has asked all those involved to identify a spot that can be used for the purpose of feeding and taking care of strays.
Many a times, the tussle between the two schools of thought has turned into nasty fights and sometimes residents end up penalising animal lovers for going out of their way to tend to the strays in their locality. In a recent incident, residents of an apartment complex in Gurugram reportedly held a family hostage for feeding stray dogs, alleging an increase in cases of dog bites. So would allocation of a spot for this purpose help solve the rampant issue in Delhi-NCR?
Anuradha Sehgal, who runs an NGO Bowl of Life, feels hard to believe that RWAs blame feeders. “Most of us who take care of animals and their needs, do so at our own expense. We are doing a service to the animals, but above that we are also helping those people who don’t take any responsibility for the well-being of strays. Dogs are territorial; to be able to sterilise or vaccinate them, it’s important to regularly feed them and gain their trust. It’s extremely sad that society excludes such individuals who are helping the voiceless,” says Sehgal, who feels that it’s on all of us to care for animals. “The Delhi HC order is a good option, and should be implemented everywhere! It takes one bowl of food and water to ensure strays have a good life. If each person took care of one animal outside their home, India would soon have no strays. We cannot continue to practice speciesism and think only about ourselves,” she adds.
Other animal lovers such as Akshey Joshi from Gurugram also feels that having designated places for feeding strays will go a long way in creating harmony. He explains, “Some people have issues with dogs dirtying the place, which I think isn’t unfair. Most societies ought to have designated corners to keep the friction to a minimal. It’s crucial for everyone to understand that the lives of these animals are in fact legally protected and so is the right of people to tend to them, especially since we’re the ones taking habitable space away from them.”
And Noida-based animal rescuer Pooja Bhat believes sensitisation and sterilisation of strays can help mend the bridge between RWAs and animal lovers. “I believe both need to come to a table and discuss issues to find amicable solutions. A significant difference can be made if everyone and not just animal well wishers make efforts. For example, in Noida sector 31, the RWA has allocated an animal welfare fund for feeding and sterilisation of strays in their locality, along with a designated spot for feeding! People also need to understand that one can’t just feed an animal anywhere and everywhere,” says Bhat.
Author tweets @bhagat_mallika