MUMBAI, India — A recent outbreak of rabies India has put many on edge and the government has reacted by suggesting to remove all “rabid or dangerous” stray dogs. Some citizens say that public safety should be more important than the lives of street dogs, but the idea of killing so many has been met with opposition.
Dr. Manilal Valliyate, who used to be a veterinary surgeon in Kerala, states that it would be difficult to distinguish just the “dangerous” dogs and that it takes a knowledge of canine behavior to do so. The Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) has specifically asked the government of Kerala to wait until the Supreme Court makes a ruling.
Representatives from AWBI have cited previous Supreme Court rulings that dictate proper methods for controlling stray dog populations that do not include culling. They also note that several cities, including Jaipur and Chennai, have enlisted neutering and vaccination programs that have alleviated such problems. For many cities, the dogs are considered part of the social structure, and while no one specifically claims ownership, many of the smaller villages consider themselves guardians of their dog population.
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AWBI is hoping to shed light on the fact that the root causes of Kerala’s problems are not being addressed, but rather they are just looking for the easiest solution. For instance, how waste is disposed of in Kerala and other parts of India affects how the stray dog population may interact with people.
An online petition has hopes of reaching the Prime Minister and you can view it here: Stop The Mass Killing Of Dogs In Kerala. So far, almost 3,750 people have signed it. Hopefully, all parties involved will be able to reach a plan that effectively helps the situation, without killing so many dogs. Meanwhile, rescue groups in India are working hard to change the lives of street dogs.