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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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How to control and reduce the stray dog population

Apart from ABC (Animal Birth Control), that is.

Here are some FAQs from Amala Akkineni. The original is at http://www.karmayog.com/dogs/dogs_responses.htm; I’ve pasted her answers here.

Response 16: Stray Dogs – here’s a detailed FAQ

Please accept my deepest concerns for the safety of citizens from stray dogs attacks. The issue has many angles to take into concern. Hence I have put together a number of frequently asked questions. I hope they will shed some light on the solution to the problem. It is vast and complex and needs everyone’s involvement and co-operation. The biggest help in this case will actually be the dog himself. Not the ones that attack and bite humans. But the ones that are devoted and give their life for us, the ones that gave the term “Man’s best friend.”

I live in Hyderabad and will not be able to participate – hence the attachment as a contribution. There are many animal welfare groups on Mumbai who can help.

With sincere regards

Amala Akkineni

FAQ’s about strays……….

By Amala Akkineni

Blue Cross of Hyderabad

Some frequently sparked questions about stray dogs:

It is common for people to demand frantic explanations concerning their trauma with stray animals. “ What are you doing about the stray dogs?” or “What are you doing about the monkeys?” or “I hate the way you are helping those wretched creatures – the dogs- they don’t let me sleep at night! Why don’t you help people instead?”  I sympathies that stray animals can pose threat to people and it is important we know how to deal with them. So I have rephrased the questions into more appropriate ones dealing specifically with the problems in the hope that readers will be wiser in their efforts to interact with strays. Alone nothing can be done, but together we can do something constructive to create safe and healthy communities.  Please read on….

(Forgive the repetitions that are essential to get the point across.)

Q1. Two Children were killed by street dogs. Don’t you think it is time that all the dogs were rounded up and destroyed humanely for the safety of human beings?

Ans: If that was a solution it would have been done and completed by now and there would be no street dogs. But it does not work , never has and never will, because we have external garbage disposal. Kill the local dogs and new ones will appear within days. The new ones cause more threat because they do not know you, could be aggressive, rabid, roam in packs and attack. The familiar community dogs however, if made safe and docile through screening, sterilization and vaccination, make the community safe by keeping out new dogs from entering. They are very territorial by nature. The World Health Organization , UN, recommends this and where ever it has been implemented it has worked wonders. The community dogs become an asset to the community and provide Rabies free zones. But wherever killing has been resorted to the dog attacks and bites grow in number and Rabies is still rampant. Humane destruction is necessary, but only for the dogs that attack and bite or show aggression. The others need to be protected to protect the community.

Q2. I can’t sleep at night. The dogs bark and no one seems to do anything when I complain. What are you doing about the dogs?

Ans: A more appropriate question would be “What can you do?” That’s the perfect question because the truth is that if you can’t sleep, no one else will be concerned except you. So here is what you can do: Firstly you must have the entire locality cleared of garbage. Garbage breeds strays. Remove the garbage and they automatically migrate elsewhere for food. Then you need to find out if the dogs barking at night are street dogs or pet dogs. The loudest, throaty barks come from large breeds like German shepherds. The guarding pets usually start off the barking and their little street cousins join in to deter sinister intruders at night.  They are actually doing a very important job in your neighborhood.  If it’s someone’s pet then there is nothing you can do. However, you can get yourself a pair of sponge ear plugs like the one’s on the airlines. They do a marvelous job of shutting out any disturbing sounds and give you a good night’s sleep as well- dogs or no dogs!

Q3. There are a number of dogs roaming on my street. Some seem to be having litters of puppies. I am concerned that they are multiplying and will overpopulate and cause severe problems later on. What can I do?

Ans: Good question. Firstly clear all the garbage. People often deny garbage when I say this but truth is there has to be garbage if there are strays. Look for hidden dumps in empty plots, or someone feeding them. Then, try to befriend them. The most difficult thing is to catch a stray dog. They can tell well before and run away to hide when the dog van arrives. By befriending them- placing food out regularly etc- you gain their confidence and have a certain idea about how many dogs there are, where they hang out, what is the temperament, what condition they are in, etc. If you can’t do it get someone like a gardener or watch man to do this. Thereafter you need to call the MCH dog pound and request for them to catch, sterilize and vaccinate the dogs. If they are too busy, request them to send the dogs to Blue Cross for the procedure. Once sterilized and vaccinated the dogs will form a stable population and a Rabies free zone posing no threat to your community. The puppies can be sent along with the mother to Blue Cross and put into our adoption programme. One may be misled to think that the dogs can be taken away somewhere else to solve the problem. This is impossible for new dogs arrive within days and take their place posing worse threat then the familiar ones.

Q4. I don’t want the dogs on the street. They should be locked up somewhere for the rest of their lives. What are you doing about this?

Ans: We are not planning anything of the sort because it is not practical at all. Allow me to inform you that the number of dogs in your street is directly proportionate to the garbage. Remove one lot of dogs and a new lot will arrive in days! If your solution was feasible there would be no stray animals. Yet after killing and removing dogs for decades all over India, we still have stray animals. The newly arrived dogs have no affection for the community- they could attack, bite and even carry rabies. This is also why there are increasing numbers of bites and dogs attacks- everyday there are people getting bitten despite the killing! So whether you like it or not it is better to have a safe friendly population of community dogs on the street that will protect the community from new maybe dangerous dogs from entering. We do sterilize and vaccinate stray dogs and cats for a fee if you wish to bring your locality dogs to us for the procedure. But the community has to take responsibility for their local dogs first.

Q5. The MCH never answer my complaints. They say you are not letting them remove the dogs. Why are you interfering?

Ans: Yes, I too wonder why they give you that impression. If you pay Municipal taxes then you deserve their service. However perhaps you complaint was vague or unreasonable. Did you complain that the dogs are barking at night? If so, what do you expect MCH to do? Please get yourself a pair of ear plugs and sleep well. Or did you complain that you did not want dogs on the street? If so, again there is nothing anyone can do. Remove the existing dogs and you will have a new lot within a few days because of the garbage. The new ones are more vicious and aggressive then the earlier ones because they do not have any regard for the community. Or did you complain that the dogs are biting? Well if you did and they gave you the lame answer that we are not allowing them to do anything- then you should have noted down the name of the employee and sent it with an official complaint letter to the MCH Commissioner immediately. It is the duty of the dog squad to remove any animal that is aggressive and a threat to the community. If they refuse to do so they must be reported to senior authorities.

Q5. There are a pack of large dogs that are very vicious and frightening, that follow me on my evening walk. What can I do? I do not want them hurt or killed.

Ans: That is very considerate of you. But your concern may be misplaced. For the sake of a few aggressive dogs the entire human and dog community can be at threat. You must call the MCH dog pound and complain. The threatening dogs must be removed and destroyed humanely. When a dog starts biting or chasing, the local people complain about all the dogs in fear and the entire lot are removed and killed. They do not realize that new dogs will soon take their place posing more threat. The key is to get involved and ensure that only the aggressive ones, or the culprit is caught and removed. If you simply leave it to the dog catchers they will catch and remove the gentle friendly ones instead for the sake of answering the complaint. Are you willing to stand by and show them the dogs and help them catch the ones causing harm? If you do this your community can be safe again.

To solve stray animal problems in the community here are a few important tips:

  1. Have all garbage cleared regularly. Garbage breeds strays.
  2. Try to befriend the local strays to enable them to be caught, sterilized and vaccinated.
  3. A safe population of friendly community dogs will not allow new dogs to enter the area that could carry rabies.
  4. Report any dog that is attacking, biting or showing aggression. Humane destruction is necessary, but only for these dogs. The others need to be protected to protect the community.
  5. A community volunteer can keep an eye on the general health of the local dogs, repeating the anti rabies vaccinations annually. Blue Cross can help you with this.
  6. Call Blue Cross for advice. If you seek our help, we can help provided you are willing to take the responsibility.

Important phone numbers:

Blue Cross of Hyderabad: 23544355, 23545523

MCH Dog Pound: 24617017

Amala Akkineni
Yoga Jyoti
Saptaparni Center
21, Rd.# 8 Banjara Hills
Ms.Sunita: 55667707 Or
Tel: 924687 5040 for enquiries / booking class

Useful resources and news

Here is a list of links, as I find them, related to animals in general. (Of course, it’s hard to say how up-to-date or accurate these are, until one actually calls them when the need arises.)

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.

NEWS

Most Bangalore NGOs no longer participate in the ABC (animal birth control) program, thanks to payment due from BBMP: http://www.thenewsminute.com/article/bengaluru-ngos-shut-shop-stray-dog-sterilisation-thanks-bbmps-payment-delays-54146

15 Animal laws that every Indian should know

 

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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.

IMG_20160223_090730107

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 http://awbi.org/?q=node%2F152

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: http://awbi.org/?q=cmember. 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.

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