Of the terrible menace of stray dogs
   Date :19-Jun-2024

stray dogs 
Vijay Phanshikar 
STRAY dogs are scaring people of Nagpur no end. In the past few days, the city reported several instances of stray dogs attacking unsuspecting persons -- men, women, children on foot or on two-wheelers or even in cars. They chase people, attack them, bite them hard, and cause a trauma for which the city administration does not seem to find an answer. Some time ago, the whole country was shocked with an Ahmedabad incident in which the big boss of the Wagh Bakri Tea -- Parag Desai -- was attacked by stray dogs. He tried to escape, lost his balance, and fell with a big thud, with his head hitting something hard or sharp. Almost instantaneously, he was gone, dead ! The city of Nagpur, too, saw similar incidents in the past few days -- though fortunately no death occurred. However, several people have been reported injured by dog attacks and dog bites. In one instance in Kannamwar Nagar, one woman on health-walk was attacked by a bunch of stray dogs who pulled her down on the ground. The dogs climbed on the woman on the ground and had tore into her body in several places. The woman screamed, tried to ward off the dogs -- but to no avail. A few people around rescued the woman and rushed her to the AIIMS. In another case, a woman on bicycle on her way to a house where she worked as a part-time cook, was attacked by 3-4 stray dogs.
The woman panicked and lost her balance and fell on a rock and hurt herself severely. She also had a fracture in a leg, and had to be rushed to hospital for treatment post-haste. Several such cases are being witnessed by the people in almost every area of the sprawling city of Nagpur. Yet, for reasons never known to the common people, the administration has failed to take concrete measures in this regard. There are a few NGOs that take in stray dogs and keep them behind closed compounds and shelters. The administration is also known to be catching some stray dogs and chastising the animals before letting them go off. There are people who suspect that dogs thus chastised become angry animals with their disturbed psychologies. There are some others who do not believe this. The common people like the loosefooter have no way to know what the truth is. But there is every reason to doubt the integrity of the administration on this issue. For, when a city reports such a massive growth in the numbers of stray dogs that often go berserk on the streets posing danger to unsuspecting people over long (and endless) periods of time, then there is a reason to suspect the intentions of the administration on an issue as critical as this one.
The loosefooter has no pre-meditated thought on this issue. He does not want to suggest that the stray dogs need to be shot dead. He realises the importance of a humanitarian angle as well while handling the issue. Yet, it is important to note that if a problem assumes menacing proportions, then it needs to be handled urgently and with a no-nonsense approach that goes beyond stupid ideological stands a few people tend to take. The loosefooter, therefore, insists upon an urgent and concerted action by all stake- holders (which include common people and the ones in the administration). He is conscious that many people treat stray dogs in a cruel manner. That also needs to be stopped immediately. For, when the community of stray dogs realises that some of its members are being treated with cruelty, then they tend to go berserk in collective anger. For, by all standards, a dog is an intelligent animal that understands the negativism or positivism of human response to its presence. With these issues in the mental background, the loosefooter insists upon earliest possible response to the menace by the larger society -- failing which, some other measures may have to be taken by the people. n