Are stray dogs a big menace in India? Whether you are a fan of addressing reality or someone who is forlorn about lacking funds to manage a domestic pet, here’s a figure that will take you by complete surprise. Back in 2016, there were- believe it or not- 30 million stray dogs in India. Just imagine how many would be today considering we’ve only just entered the second month of a new year? Not domesticated. Not exactly petted by the passerby’. Definitely not met with the warmest of smiles, stray dogs in India are, more often than not, a needless element subjugating the peace and tranquil existence of India’s lonely and busy streets.
Often, we find shopkeepers, hawkers and vendors who go about trading everyday on the same busy streets that are hogged by stray dogs to be feeding these ‘unwanted’ species with tiny strands of food. Sometimes, when an affectionate dog-lover is passing by and happens to fall a gaze on dogs who can’t be called abandoned for they were never owned, it makes for a cosy sight finding a stranger petting a creature who belongs to streets and no one in particular. But these aren’t necessarily everyday sightings. Mostly pelted stones at and on other occasions, simply made to vacate a tiny spot that’s occupied harmlessly, there’s no roof under which these dogs can feel at home. How far can nonprofits go to ‘contain’ the situation?
In fact, situations up in the north of the country are bitter. In a somewhat surprising bit of coverage that the renowned BBC awarded to one of India’s most commonest of sites, it became apparent as to why stray dogs aren’t exactly met with warmth. Many people during the peak winters at Leh, in Ladakh fear of stepping out from their homes. Especially during pitch black; nights. Reason? They fear for their life all thanks to streets being occupied by stray dogs. As of 2017, according to a fascinating report carried by Justin Rowlatt, as many as 180 people were bitten by dogs wandering the streets of Leh. In fact, one man was bitten to death. At one time, a single street or bylane in the heart of Leh could be flogged by as many as 8-10 stray dogs.
The roads are empty and the only sound one can possibly hear in the massive envelope of darkness is that of the dogs’ barks. That said, an indication of the kind of danger people are subjected to in lieu of the presence of stray dogs can be understood by a recent WHO report. It is believed that as many as 20,000 succumb due to rabies each year. Mr. Rowlatt shared, this is a third of the world’s total. If this isn’t a matter of grave concern then what is? If India cannot pull up its socks now, then when will it? With these questions, it is about time that the civil authorities in different states arrived at a cohesive strategy in order to solve this inexplicable trouble confounding the locals.