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Who let the stray animals out?

With the increasing population of stray dogs, the problem has assumed menacing proportions not just in the tricity but all over the country.

columns Updated: Jul 15, 2018 13:42 IST
Stray animals,Stary dog menace,Chandigarh newspapers
Unlike India where a pet is taken for a walk to defecate and urinate, despite municipal corporations in some cities imposing fines on pet dogs dirtying the streets, owners in the West are particular about cleaning up after their pets.(HT File)

‘Toddler mauled by pack of stray dogs,’ read the headline in Chandigarh newspapers. Not the wolves in the periphery but stray dogs in the heart of the city attacked and killed an 18-month-old baby boy.

It’s horrifying, but certainly not an isolated case of canine assault. In fact, incidents of dog bites and attacks are common in Chandigarh.

With the increasing population of stray dogs, the problem has assumed menacing proportions not just in the tricity but all over the country. Stray dogs can be found at numerous spots in the city: 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?”

It’s hard to find strays in Western countries. In fact, in most of the developed countries that I have visited I have been unable to spot even one stray dog. The four legged creatures that I did see, however, were pets, of different breeds and sizes, escorted by their masters to the parks, markets and public places.

Unlike India where a pet is taken for a walk to defecate and urinate, despite municipal corporations in some cities imposing fines on pet dogs dirtying the streets, owners in the West are particular about cleaning up after their pets.

It was a surprise for me to see the dog owners there scoop dog poop in a polythene bag and drop it in the trash bin.

Apart from dogs, stray cattle are also a menace unique to India, but nowhere else 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, the cowbells jingling, but you never see a single animal cross its territory into the human domain.

Are we then really an animal loving nation? Do we really care for the animals or revere cows? If we really did so then we would have thought twice before abandoning the animals in such a pathetic state, gorging on waste, dying of hunger, disease or accident.

We seem to be strange people – who do not believe in slaughter but allow animals to 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 animals nor in the interest of man.

(The writer is Chandigarh-based freelance contributor)

First Published: Jul 15, 2018 13:42 IST