Thursday, January 29, 2009

Nuisance, who?

It brings immense relief to learn that the Supreme Court has given a stay in appeal against the ill-considered ruling of the Bench of the Bombay High Court to kill all “nuisance” dogs in Bombay (23/Jan 09). It is unfortunate that the High Court did not acknowledge a central legislation. The Supreme Court guidelines decree that if and only a dog is found rabid or mortally wounded or incurably ill, can it be taken and euthanized as per the rules and guidelines.

Nuisance dogs have been defined by the Bombay Municipal Corporation (BMC) as dogs that “bark” and “chase” motorists. While both characteristics are true of dogs, I fail to see how that becomes a reason to exterminate the dogs. Just like human beings, no dog is same – each has a distinct personality. Some are reticent; some aggressive. There are many dogs of both kinds in the locality where I live. On some days, in the dead of the night, they start to bark. Their barks have often woken me up and I have wondered what they are howling at. I tell myself that they must have good reasons to howl and I am able to sleep peacefully. They have never harmed any resident in this area. All of them appear healthy and some lucky ones are regularly fed by the resident families. When young children in the house cry and throw tantrums, their families do not consider snuffing out their lives do they...., humans do and say a number of things that can be termed as “nuisance”, but we do not talk of putting them to sleep, do we? People! You are not the only ones living on this planet and you are not the central point of Creation either, where have you dumped the humanly virtues of tolerance, compassion, and humility? Why make a big issue out of dogs that bark?!

A few days ago, I saw a group of four dogs barking and chasing a car. The car was moving pretty dangerously and on looking closely I found it jam packed with hooligan-type men. I am proud of the dogs that barked and chased them out of the locality!

The issue in this case is perhaps of the large number of street dogs in Bombay. But, have we ever considered why? Studies have revealed that the population of street dogs is directly proportional to the volume of unattended garbage in the city. These studies are an outcome of the perseverance of animal lovers; especially in the city of Chennai. The city Corporation in Chennai had been pursuing the policy of mass killing of street dogs since the time of Independence. Ironically, the population of the street dogs never reduced! After consistent lobbying with the Corporation of Chennai, the animal activists were successful in pursuing it to drop the killer methods and instead resort to systematic sterilization and anti-rabies vaccination programmes to control the street dog population. Since the time the two programmes have started in Chennai, there has been a sharp decline in the cases of rabies in the city. The cities of Bangalore, Jaipur, and Hyderabad also run similar programmes for street dogs. As a result, all these cities haven’t seen any rabies-related deaths over the past five years.

Why does the BMC that has a municipal budget of more than some small countries in the world hesitate to sterilize and vaccinate the 70,000 dogs it claims to have? Why should the dogs have to die because of redtapism? With lofty examples in the country, why is the BMC inclined on going the Shanghai way, what is wrong with them – why have they dumped their brains and locked their hearts in the closet! What kind of heroism is involved in launching an offensive on a defenseless population? Surely, Indians should know better – who have suffered in the hands of oppressors since ages. I cannot help but draw a parallel between the Bombay HC order with the scourge that caused women to be forcefully burnt on the funeral pyres of their dead husbands in this very country more than a century back. It is the same mindset at work – the mindset of the dominant class (now mixed with capitalist thought) to wipe out anything or anyone they consider as the "other".

People; please focus on who the real nuisance is! Rest assured, whoever it is, we will not move a PIL to kill them!


Vandya said...

Even I’m relieved that Supreme Court has given a stay in appeal. Killing street dogs won’t serve the purpose. Muting them may work. By the way who has the rights to decide whether street dogs should live or not?

ambrosia said...

True Vandya. Terrible things happen to the dogs in other parts of the western world that I can't begin to list for they are acts too cruel. I am appalled that in a country like India where belief in religion and spirituality shape moral values, people should give verdicts to kill, that too a defenseless population. Thank God for the activists that appealed for the stay.

Kavita said...

Hey Amrita, remember the conversation about this toic we had the other day. I told you about Manisha's blog and she asked me to thank you on her behalf for the excellent peice of news regarding the supreme court ruling you gave me.

ambrosia said...

Hi Kavita, yes and how can I forget.... because our conversation inspired this post! Thank you :-)