Stray ‘pets’

Wednesday, 16 October 2019

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Stray ‘pets’

Swapnil Bharali | May 11, 2019 13:34 hrs


The recent incident of a mad stray dog turning ferocious enough to bite 50 people on the streets of Pan Bazar, Fancy Bazar and Lakhtokia and thereafter simply disappearing from the scene brings an uneasiness to the mind. That the canine could not be located and might still be roaming free within the city is, by itself, a not-so-comfortable feeling because human lives might be harmed again. After all, mad dog bites, unless acted upon quickly, leads to one of the most dreaded diseases known to mankind.


This brings up the question of what is to be done with the distinctly large stray dog population of Guwahati. Unconfirmed reports peg it at 1,00,000 individuals all of which thrive on the massive garbage bins that dot the city’s localities. Animal activists clearly state that nothing but mercy must be shown to these stray dogs even though a fair number of such activists, engaged with NGOs, are also concerned about their growing numbers and so, government (read GMC) funds permitting, have been active in rendering sterilization work on these dogs. Well, the funds have dried up now and the percentage of dogs that have been sterilized is minimal to say the least.


Now recently, a friend of mine brought to my notice a situation where a large number of stray dogs (around 15 in number, includes bitches) have been kept as “pets” by a certain caretaker of a household in the Dighalipukhuri area; the caretaker provides these dogs with just one measly meal a day and thereafter, they are left to scavenge around and fend for themselves. The alarming part is their propensity to procreate quickly (yes, they are not sterilized) as well as die early through various diseases that are usually evident on the dogs’ bodies; sore blood-oozing skin tears with flies fawning on the same. These dogs are never taken to the vet; they are treated with homemade remedies – turmeric powder most of the time.


While these stray dogs and their activities are clearly a threat and a health hazard to the humans of the locality, nothing seems can be possibly done to eradicate the same simply because they happen to be “pets.” Keeping all possibilities in mind, isn’t it high time that a stray dog policy be formulated? The city is that bit more hazardous because of them.

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