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Strays in Bangalore: For dog-loving, dog-hating, dog-phobic and dog-neutral people

If you read only one post, let it be this

All the important points are summarized below. They pertain to India in general. The point about BBMP pertains to Bangalore city alone.

  • Relocation* of dogs (such as dumping them in another neighbourhood or village or forest) is not permitted, as it will spoil the balance in the  new place.
  • Getting rid of the existing dogs means that new ones are bound to come along and take their place — this is Nature’s way. The new ones are likely to be unsterilized and not vaccinated, so it is more prudent to just control the existing population.
  • Killing of stray dogs is not allowed. Sterilization (neutering and spaying) is strongly recommended.
  • It is as important to neuter a male as to spay a female. Here’s why: The male could mate with any unsterilized female in heat — including someone’s pet dog, probably a pedigreed one. If that female produces (semi-stray) puppies, the owners may throw the puppies into the street, adding to the stray population.
  • Contrary to fears, most dogs are not rabid. If they had been rabid, they would have died in 2-3 months! However, it is strongly recommended to vaccinate them against rabies every year.
  • In the case of a bite by a stray dog, the nearest BBMP centre will administer a free course of anti-rabies vaccinations. Inform the caregiver but do not hound him/her for compensation.
  • There is no law under which you can file a complaint that a stray dog or pet dog is being  noisy.
  • You may not want to feed an animal; that is your choice. However, if you choose to feed it, you cannot be stopped from doing so.
  • If we segregate our trash wisely, we will attract fewer rats — and hence, fewer stray dogs.

The following cases are not considered ‘relocation’:

  • You adopt it as a pet.
  • You give it to a friend (in another neighbourhood) to rear as a pet.
  • You move it to your farm or factory where there are no other strays that may challenge or oppose its entry, where there is a fence for the property, and where the animal is fed and cared for adequately.
  • You give it to a sanctuary for abandoned animals.
  • If you are doing any of the above, please keep all caregivers and some neighbours informed, or they may file a “missing dog” complaint!
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Quick links to important posts

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Useful resources and news

Here is a list of links, as I find them, related to animals in general.

In case you do not wish to bury it in your garden, you can take it to the BBMP crematorium. The address is: 92, Outer Ring Road, Beggars Colony, Kamaksipalya, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560091 (adjacent to KSRTC Depot, Sumanahalli). Phone: 09900707521 or 08023289422. It is open 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on all days of the week. It will cost Rs. 500-1000, depending on the option you choose.
If you are looking for a more ‘posh’ resting place for the pet, please contact PFA (People for Animals). It is adjacent to BGS Hospital, Kengeri. Phone: 9900025370 0r +918197155004. This will cost Rs 5,000-18,000, depending on the option you choose.


Most Bangalore NGOs no longer participate in the ABC (animal birth control) program, thanks to payment due from BBMP:

15 Animal laws that every Indian should know



Sterilized vs. immunized dogs

There is some confusion on the difference between a sterilized dog and an immunized one.

A sterilized dog (the term is spayed for females and neutered for males) is one that is NOT capable of reproducing. In the case of males, the testicles are removed, so the neutering is easily visible. In the case of females, there is no externally visible sign  (except a possible stitch on her stomach, near her womb). In India, most sterilized stray dogs are marked with a notched ear, such as what you see in the photo below.


A spayed female may mate, but she will not conceive. A neutered male is not capable of mating.

An immunized dog is one that has received its anti-rabies immunization. This is needed every year. There is no visible way to tell if or when a dog has been immunized. Immunization has two benefits:

  • If the dog is bitten by a rabid animal, it will not contract rabies.
  • If the dog bites (or licks a wound on) a person or another animal, the person or animal will not contract rabies, since the biting dog is not rabid.

When a dog is sterilized, it is typically given an anti-rabies vaccine. However, as mentioned above, this is good for just a year.

“Killing dogs counter-productive to rabies control”

“…outstanding Rabies Elimination Programme, which does not believe in killing of stray dogs to control rabies. Professor Ahmed met with several Bangladeshi Mayors, educating them that when municipality catching squads try to catch stray dogs to kill them, several run away and migrate to new localities. Here, the territorial dogs of that locality fight with them, which leads to intra-dog bites and a higher risk of fighting dogs biting humans.”

“Most importantly, remember that if one is bitten by any dog — pet or stray — whose immunisation status is doubtful, it is vital to take the Rabies Immunoglobulin injection as well as the Rabies Vaccine course as per WHO Guidelines, as vaccines only give you protection from rabies three weeks after injection, whereas the Rabies Immunoglobulin protects you immediately from getting infected with rabies.”

Read the entire article here.

If you are harassed by your neighbourhood for feeding stray dogs

In a nutshell:

  • You may choose not to feed an animal; that is your choice.
  •  If you choose to feed an animal, you cannot be stopped from doing so. (Of course, it will be great if you can ensure that it is sterilized, and take care of its annual immunization.)

With all this, there are cases of well-wishers being attacked. The police too often have no knowledge of the law and they sometimes arrest the well-wisher. Therefore, you can register yourself to feed strays, and you should then not face any legal problems. The registration form is at

In addition, please read this document. You can actually file a case against someone who harasses you for feeding dogs:

To all those of you who are being harassed by their neighbourhood for tending to animals….

Here is a list of officers of the Animal Welfare Board of India: Please get in touch with one in your city. If you cannot find one in this list, please contact me, and I’ll try to locate someone.

Distinguishing between stray and pet dogs

A pet dog has only one home and one caregiver. You will typically see only one family  feeding a pet its main meals. The family will also ensure that it gets its annual anti-rabies immunization.

A stray dog is one that was dropped off by the municipal authority, or one that used to be someone’s pet and was then abandoned. Such a dog typically sleeps at varying locations, and it is fed by more than one family.

If a pet dog bites you: Check with the pet owner (most owners maintain a record) if the dog has been vaccinated against rabies in the past 12 months. If this is the case, you need to treat the wound with soap and water, and seek medical assistance if necessary (if the wound is severe). You can ask the pet owner to reimburse you for the treatment.

Explain to the doctor that the dog has been immunized. Most doctors will still advise you to get your anti-rabies shots; this is entirely your decision. There is no point in asking the owner to pay for this course of shots when the dog is immunized; the whole purpose of immunizing the dog is to keep it safe from other dogs’ bites, and to keep you safe from its bites.

If a stray dog bites you: Check with any known caregiver if the dog has been immunized in the last 12 months. If you decide to take the shots (whether the dog is immunized or not), please go to any BBMP health centre for a course of free anti-rabies shots. Do NOT ask the caregivers to pay.

There is no law that prohibits feeding of street animals, and citizens who choose to do so are in fact performing a duty cast upon them by the Constitution of India. Persons, who are trying to interfere with their effort, or display aggression, can be held liable for having committed the offense described in the Indian Penal Code and criminal intimidation.

Understanding stray dog behaviour

  • Wagging tail and comes towards you: Friendly
  • Barking + wagging tail: Scared of you. It is barking out of nervousness. If you try to make friends with it, it will either respond or run backwards.
  • Just barking; no wagging tail: Cannot say. It could be aggressive, scared, or just expecting attention. Do NOT run!

For tips on how to stay safe or how to befriend a dog, please refer to the post “Understanding stray dog mentality“.

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