Thursday, December 13, 2012

Not Solving the Indian Stray Dog Problem (Again)

Unfortunately, it is becoming clear that authorities with a role in solving the stray dog problem in India have little chance of making much headway because they simply do not understand the problem. This story in The Times of India relates how the Law Department in Thiruvananthapuram “has come up with a solution to end the stray dog menace in the state” by the “setting up of kennel habitats in all cities to rehabilitate stray dogs”.

Perhaps the report unfairly represents the Department’s simplistic view but the suggestion is an apparent commitment to house (all?) stray dogs in kennels for perhaps 4-5 years each. Apart from the logistical and financial problems of such an idea, the main sticking point is that it does not actually address the reasons why there are so many street dogs in the first place. Waste management is always a big problem in Indian cities which means that edible rubbish is readily available to support the dogs and that if the dogs are removed they will be replaced with rotting garbage or a rat population explosion. Coupled with this is the fact that many of the dogs are not born on the street but are abandoned pets or unsold puppies dumped by unscrupulous breeders, which means that the task of clearing the streets of strays would never actually end.

It may seem counter-intuitive but the best way to solve the stray dog problem in India is not to target the stray dogs themselves but rather the pet dog industry plus find a more efficient waste management system. If this is ever done they will probably find that the few remaining street dogs are not actually a problem and can comfortably live as part of the community as they have been doing for thousands of years.

Learn more about the lives and issue of unowned dogs in my e-book ”A Stray View” available from Bangkok Books (readable as .pdf on any computer)

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