Culling stray dogs: Civic bodies are inflicting needless suffering on man's best friend

What is ownership? Do we own everything in the world? Is every plant, every creature a belonging of some human. Does it have no right to live?

The municipal corporations of each city are entrusted with the killing of dogs that don't belong to anyone. This is how they are killed in different cities:
(a) Clubbed to death.
(b) Strangled with wire loops.
(c) Injected with strychnine or cyanide.
(d) Locked into closed rooms with cyanide powder thrown on them.
(e) Shot on various parts of the body.
(f) Drenched with water and then touched with a live current.

The dog catchers are paid per dog. The dogs are caught with iron tongs (often a limb is broken in the process), put into a rusted enclosure, taken to the corporation pound, stuffed cheek by jowl into small, dank, excreta-filled (and soundproof) pens and kept for days without food and water till their turn comes. Then they are dragged into the killing chamber — sometimes six puppies tied neck to neck — and electrocuted.

When the voltage is low, each dog takes hours to die, convulsing with pain. Sometimes when the corporation is in a hurry, the dog is thrown into the incinerator while still alive.

Sometimes, the dogcatchers are not in the mood for physical activity. They don't want to run after the animals. So they bring a whole lot of chapattis laced with poison and leave these around the colony. The dog eats the chapati and takes six to eight hours to die.

So do birds, cows and cats. So does your dog who, on his evening walk, thought he'd get something for nothing.

I see many people phoning the corporation in Delhi to take away a local dog that "barks" or "looks dangerous" or simply "sits on the lawn when the children want to play."

Every week I receive several phone calls which go like this: “There is a bitch who has given birth to puppies near our house. Every time we go near her she snarls and tries to attack. Either you take her away or we will call the corporation."

Which means that for every one I pick up, a bitch, whose only fault is that she is trying to protect her babies: at least fifty are taken away. The week old puppies are strangled in front of the mother and tossed into the garbage section of the truck.

I want these people to read this, so that they know exactly what they are doing. We use this euphemism for the animals we kill — "put to sleep"  — and it sounds so gentle that we do not hesitate to ring for the city death squad.

It has not occurred to the corporations of each city that a much better method would be to spay the local dogs and then return them to their localities.

Representational photo. Reuters

Representational photo. Reuters


The dog is nature's city scavenger and predator. If you remove it, apart from the piling up of huge quantities of garbage, the cat and rat population will get out of hand, and from that, the natural bird population will die out.

The dog plays a very important part in the urban cycle of nature — he is to the town what the wolf is to the jungle. If anyone knows the local government of their towns, please persuade them to adopt this method instead of this barbaric cruelty to a gentle and loyal beast.

You can do your bit by tagging the animals in your colony. The tags are supposed to be sold by the corporation and no dog who has one can be taken away. In Delhi, however, the tags have not been available for over three years so they issue paper receipts. Maybe you can put these into small dog medallions and tie them round the necks of colony dogs.


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Updated Date: Feb 27, 2017 18:06:50 IST

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