Can’t We Live With Man’s Best Friends?

Every dog has its day is an ancient saying, but little did we realise that the activities of the canines in the city would hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons.

Soon after the gory incident of hungry dogs eating up a young girl — almost three years ago — and several such instances of savagery, the people of the city declared a war against mongrels. Every movement of theirs was considered to be a potential threat to human life and the dogs on the streets realised that they could not lead a doggy life anymore. The BBMP immediately promised to make Bangalore ‘stray dog free’ in three years time!

Three years have flitted past, punctuated with such incidents from time to time. City dwellers segregated themselves into two factions on the basis of their feelings for the dogs — the ones who loved them and the ones who despised their very sight.

The police stations, the municipality and the corporation offices are flooded with complaints and petitions and it has been discovered that even the ones who love dogs, do not love all dogs especially if they are street dogs with an ailment or two. Kinder people merely request the authorities to make some ‘suitable arrangements’ for the strays of the species.

Limited resources

The city corporation, NGOs and various animal friendly organisations do not seem to have enough hands, methods or the resources when it came to helping all the distressed people who are terrified of street dogs.

While condemning the savage acts of some dogs that are driven by a bloodthirsty spirit we must not forget that man’s relationship with dogs dates back to the dawn of civilisation. They have been domesticated beyond repair. The curs have been leading a very dependant life on man for millenniums. They have helped him unconditionally and have lent their infallible support and a reliable sense of security rather unreservedly in exchange for a little food and shelter. Now when they find themselves as an unwanted appendage of urban society, it speaks in volumes of the cruelty and selfishness of man.

The ‘Clean Bangalore’ programme that was launched resulted in the clearance of garbage bins at regular intervals. Though these measures stepped up hygiene in the area, the flipside saw dogs facing the brunt of man’s newfound penchant for cleanliness and thrift. The dogs that haunted the streets were left to starve and suffer parched throats.

Street dogs truly began leading a ‘dog’s life’. While some emaciated and courted death and disease, some got hooked onto the taste of human blood, thanks to the disorganised trash disposal system of some uncanny hospitals. NGOs and private bodies, which champion the cause of these unfortunate dogs, do see to that they receive anti-rabies shot and are sterilised to prevent further breeding. Orphaned pups and injured dogs are picked up and are provided shelter and nurtured. Yet one cannot vouch for the fact that ‘All is well’. We still have un-medicated mongrels on the streets that are armed with fatal fangs, possibly nurturing a wild instinct!

We must find a way to ‘live and let live’. Man should prove that he is wiser and does possess humanitarian qualities and values when dealing with his oldest ‘best friend’. Do we negate the lives of every homo sapien just because some of them cheat, smuggle or murder? Should not the same logic apply to other living beings too?

“If you have men who will exclude any of god’s creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellowmen”, said St Francis of Assisi.p

Let us hope that we arrive at a satisfactory consensus during the current Animal Welfare Fortnight! We can still have a cleaner, safer, friendlier and a more human Bangalore, if we co-operate with the bodies who are trying to handle the situation in a worthy manner.

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