Friday, December 26, 2008

A dog's life: stray dogs in Mumbai

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I noticed a peculiar thing and I have been noticing it for long: there are less stray dogs in South Mumbai than in the suburbs. When I went on that Sunday after the terrible terror attack, just spotted one in Colaba Causeway. In my part of town, there are is one for every ten persons living here. And I am not joking. I have allowed my cycle to rust than risk their barking run after me...

Mornings when I go out, I see packs run after school kids, snapping... I have been snapped at, by dogs in the parks... And in IC Colony, even seven years back, the packs used to terrorise scooter and autos, running manically after them. I have often spotted dogs mauled -- huge chunks of flesh off their nape -- by other dogs. It seems a constant shift in dog population, as new ones come from other suburbs, creates a vicious struggle for survival...

They -- the south-Mumbaikars who own the city -- will say that is because of overflowing garbage bins in the suburbs. Maybe.

Or could it be that the Sterilisation programme is not happening this part of town? I would really like to know.

I remember being intrigued when the freshly sprung NGOs offering to do the sterilisations charged Rs 750 to sterilise a dog..That was three-four years back. It is free for a man, why was so much being needed for an animal .. I wonder what these NGOs are charging now, for each dog?

Despite this humungous amount being offered, the NGOs would have some hassle or the other about doing the programme satisfactorily -- last I remember they wanted allotment of space where they could do the sterilisations...

Questions I would ask authorities that are meant to look after the stray problem :
  • How much funds have been allotted to Stray dog sterilisation?
  • How much utilised?
  • Give us the break-up areawise: allotments areawise -- each suburb for instance. More people vote from the suburbs than from the privileged South Mumbai. Yet we suburbanites get stick end of all such funding...
  • What is the cost for each dog sterilisation? Break-up of the cost..
  • Have u blacklisted non-performing NGOs...
  • How are allotments made to these so-called NGOs? What is the special skill they bring to this task?
Of course, the most important question is, sort of unrelated to this and yet related to all this: is there enough anti-rabies injections to save those who get bitten.
How many in Mumbai annually? 50,000 of which 25 or so are fatal..
I remember reading of a political type once running from pillar to post to get a rabies vaccine for his kin bitten by a stray: he could not. Then what of us simple mortals?


Aneez said...

A dog's life is more valuable than a man's - the credit goes to Maneka Gandhi.

I've seen these stray dogs terrorizing school kids and if you remember that incident, a kid died in an accident (hit by a vehicle) as he was trying to evade a dog in pursuit.

May God give enough brains to the authorities.

Shameem Akthar said...

well, there are so many incidents -- one of my students sujatha told me she was bitten by a rabid dog..., has a huge scar as unhappy proof.. then in Kandivli, a little child was mauled badly by stray dogs in samata nagar, near where I live: the story got a lot of media space too. There have been other incidents like that -- nobody is denying the animals a right to live. I think I am bothered that the money allotted for their sterlisation is possibly not being used for it at all! Also, there was another incident where a pile stray dogs' (dead) was found off a suburb -- that was suspected to be the work of a ngo which possibly found it cheaper to dispose of them like that then sterilise them -- there was just a hint of that in the report and nothing came of it since... but seems there is a big racket here, at the citizens' expense...