By D N Singh
Contrary to the popular saying that, dogs are the best friends od man, why this notional assumption that, they are growing to be enemies. Let us take a closer look.
Whether the civic bodies such as Municipal bodies or the animal welfare organizations are doing enough is a big question.
Why there is a rise in stray dog attacks in many places?
Why are dogs, regarded as man’s best friend, increasingly being seen as their enemies?
Calling for measures to control pets following several ‘attacks’ to TV news channels flashing visuals of horrific attacks by stray dogs, the ‘menace vs management’ debate is at the centrestage once again.
Recent two incidents and death of two siblings in Delhi’s Vasant Kunj following attack by stray dogs, mauling of a 4-year-old child in Hyderabad, a stray dog killing a sleeping infant in a Rajasthan hospital has brought the issue back to the focus.
May not be exact yet according to one estimation, there are more than 70 million stray dogs, officially although stated to be 60 million, one has to look deeper to the origin of the problem.
World Hefalth Organisation claims that over 30% deaths in India are related to rabies.
Between January-October 2022, Kerala and Punjab reported over 10,000 cases of dog bites each, while Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Kashmir reported between 1,000-10,000 cases, according to a Lancent report.
The National Rabies Control Program reported 6,644 clinically suspected cases and deaths of human rabies between 2012 and 2022.
As of November 2022, the number of infected dogs in Kerala has doubled in the past five years with 168/300 samples (56%) found to be positive for rabies, compared to 32% in a similar study conducted in 2016.
6/12 rabies deaths in Kerala took place despite the victims having taken an anti-rabies vaccine.
Between January-October 2022, Kerala and Punjab reported over 10,000 cases of dog bites each, while Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Kashmir reported between 1,000-10,000 cases, according to a report by The Lancet.
According to a report, Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital and Ram Manohar Lohia (RML) hospital, have seen 29,698 and 18,183 dog bite cases respectively in the last six months.
Without shelter or support stray digs have a instinct to hunt. They will kill and eat smaller animals if access to food is scarce in the localities where they are.
But, that instinct of pets are controlled as they has access to food, taken for walks, and kept active. But for strays, this behaviour is that of natural instinct. So, there is a thin line between calling a dog ‘rabid’ and understanding its natural instincts,.
RTI data revealed that rabies infections in Maharashtra rose by over 100% in Maharashtra during the first year of the pandemic in 2020-2021 compared to the previous year.
For instance in a building up city like Bhubaneswar the dog menace has increased with about 35k strays in the open. According to animal rights activist, Jeevan Das of PFA, “a sustained effort in sterilization of strays are a problem and the Municiplaity has a big role to play”.
It is your responsibility to keep your pets in check so that it doesn’t disturb the peace of other residents in the neighbourhood. Having said that, it is also important to know that you have the right to own a pet and there are ways to ensure that your freedom is not affected.