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Is there no way that we can peacefully coexist with street animals ?

On a daily basis we read articles pertaining to the problems of stray/street dogs and their daily, negative impact caused to the human population. Such reports are repetitious and tedious. It seems inevitable that “supposedly intelligent people” continually attempt to shift the blame on to innocent animals in their desperate fight for survival, which perpetrates hatred and fear in people’s minds of abandoned/stray/street dogs.

This learned gentleman, Dr. Abi T Vanak, a name I’ve never heard of in all the years I have been dealing with stray dogs issues, suddenly has all the answers to tackle Bangalore/India’s stray dog problems. What he is saying is the perfect solution for the “stray dog menace” is replicating the western model of kill shelters. Take these dogs off the streets and slowly wipe them out under the garb of euthanasia.

India today has approximately 30 million stray dogs. We don’t have shelters for homeless people in this country and we are talking about creating livable shelters for these voiceless animals.

So why is this argument even coming up? What causes stray dogs to live the way they do ?

Simple answer is Survival.

It would be more pertinent to mention that countries with much more advanced infra-structures, like the Netherlands, and most European nations, have organized, excellent garbage collection, drainage systems and in addition, financial support initiatives to avoid problems caused by stray dogs?

He mentions aggressive behavior of stray dogs towards humans, or passing vehicle. What causes this form of aggression? Studies have proven, that an animal, only when provoked, ill-treated, starved, or hunted, will naturally defend himself. This is a basic Survival instinct, which we humans also have.

Only we human species demonstrate aggression in the worse possible manner which is driven by false sense of importance and greed. It seems quite obvious that an ‘elite human’ could intellectually never lower himself to the level of our fellow animals and prefers to ignore writing about the consequences of barbaric, aggressive, and territorial behavior perpetrated by humans all across the planet.

It is quite easy to implement prejudices in the minds of non-enlightened, ignorant humans, and blame innocent animals for the problems surrounding ever expanding human habitats, which encroach incessantly into natural areas where animal fraternities once peacefully coexisted and resided.

This learned gentleman mentions that roughly 20000 annual deaths in India are caused by rabies transmitted by stray dogs, primates, wild animals, foxes, etc, which encroach into human settlements searching for waste food discarded by humans. How about looking to the other side of the coin? Let us also talk about the animals that are killed by the ever-rising traffic, encroached spaces that eat up into the animal habitat. What makes us assume that it is only humans who have the right to live?

Is there no way that we can peacefully coexist with these street animals ? Of course there is.

1. Control the population – Sterilization programs are imperative in reducing the stray dog population. It is a known fact that the system has been a complete failure in terms of ABC.

However, due to lack of finance, and support from local governments and councils, the NGOs, of which I am a member, attempt desperately to sterilize as many dogs as possible. There is evidence, even with limited financial resources, that such NGOs have proven to be more effective in this regard.

Sadly, it requires much more support from local authorities in initially offering sound, honest information to the public pertaining to the problem, and a redirection of financial resources to uphold and support NGOs tackling these massive problems caused fundamentally by human ignorance, and denial.

2. Access to food – every living being’s basic need for survival is food. We usually see these dogs rummaging through the garbage dumps along roadside hoping to find some food for survival. This access to limited food / no food tends to make them territorial. So any threat they see in this regard is met with aggression.

Regular feeding of these dogs by the people of the locality helps to make them friendlier as they tend to trust the people around them. The dogs also tend to protect the area where they are taken care of, which is a big plus to the residents.

A more efficient garbage handling system needs to be put in place. Instead of focusing on the overflowing garbage which is the main source of problem, the focus is being directed towards the helpless animals.

It becomes quite apparent, after studying this article, how the writer attempts to influence the lack of intelligence in people by presenting a one-sided view of the situation. It offers non- implementable solutions based upon research gathered through comparisons to other more sophisticated nations, which have no effect on the present situation in Bangalore, or India in general. Evidently, the honored gentleman is preaching to a fraternity which discriminates against innocent animals while ignoring the fundamental source of the problem.

Instead of publicizing a bias article, it would be more suitable to ask the relevant questions and address the issue with a local solution that is relevant to the country.

Dogs follow a very simple thought processes. They follow their natural instincts, they protect and defend their environments, and hunt for food in packs. However, if humans show kindness, offer food and friendship, those dogs will react to those acts. It is impossible to integrate or adopt every single dog bitterly surviving in a world created by human deficiencies.

Hence, these animals will react to their environments and cause problems, no doubt. Those who have created the problems, not the dogs, should morally correct those problems, but human morality is not to be compared with those of our canine brothers and sisters, theirs is of a much higher, innocent standard.

It is obvious the global problems of all animal species encroaching into human habitats will continue to grow due to human ignorance and destructive programs driven rapidly increasing, uncontrollable human population. Hunger, enforced rehabilitation, and human abandonment are the main causes of global stray-dog-animal problems!

Hence, humans should look into their mirrors before passing the blame on to innocent animals fighting for basic survival. Animals did not create an over-populated city like Bangalore; however, they have been forced into such an environment, bitterly surviving in the hope that a minority of the human population will show solidarity, love, and care, and certainly not ending up being slaughtered in the name of human deficiencies.

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