Under the shadow of dogs
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Under the shadow of dogs

Over 60,000 dog bites cases have been registered at Anti-Rabies Clinic SMHS in the last over a decade 

Post by SHEIKH SHABIR KULGAMI on Monday, December 4, 2023

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Morality dictates that public servants work with integrity and transparency, allowing the rule of law to proceed justly, and they should not cry foul if held accountable. In absent morality, society will be heading for a situation where chaos is likely to run the show, painting a bleak picture of the public welfare intent.


Under a modern state, the rule of law pledges a life of dignity to every citizen— leaving no room for caste, creed, status or region as deciders— aside from guaranteeing the protection of life. This constitutional guarantee does not leave out the right of animals to live; but if an animal happens to jeopardize people’s lives in a particular area, the law book explicitly states the remedies as to the safety of the citizens from the animal.


Simply shifting the animal to a rural habitation at the expense of the residents there is akin to gross professional misconduct. Also, it implies disdain and disregard towards the health and safety of the fellow citizens from rural areas.


 Agreed that the rulebook prohibits killing animals for wrong reasons but what about the residents facing a threat to their lives from any animal. Whenever a wild animal such as a bear or leopard appears in any human habitation, the wild life authorities race to the spot to take the animal captive and away. This is in line with the departmental rules in place and is appreciably appropriate.  The action saves human lives and the life of the animal as well.


However if stray dogs overflow anywhere or endanger the life of people  there, should not these animals be dealt in a manner reflecting an attitude of respect, care and concern for every citizen whether from a rural or town area?  But the mask slips when certain so called good ladies and gentlemen, in official positions, impose upon others what they themselves dislike.


Over 60,000 dog bites cases have been registered at Anti-Rabies Clinic SMHS in the last over a decade.  Pertinently, the issue is not just about the number of strays, but also their behavior. Stray dogs often form packs and become aggressive, attacking humans and other animals. These attacks well prove fatal at times.


Tragic but true is the dogs are rounded up and truckloads of them are carried away only to be left free at villages. This begs a few questions: when these dogs end up as a cause of concern at a town, how come they will not replicate that at villages they are brought and left to roam around at will? If these aggressive dogs injure or kill anybody at a village, who is responsible? Is not that unlawful and disgraceful to get rid your home of the stray dogs by gleefully placing them among villagers?


Certain quarters argue that the rising population of stray dogs poses a threat to human life at towns due to less space.  And at rural areas, the dogs spread across a large area and thus do not turn challenging to the residents. This, however, is a flawed logic and far from the ground realities at villages. The fact remains that the rural streets are riddled with the number of dogs harming the inhabitants in two ways — with their disease carrying faecal matter and with their tendency to attack.


Health experts hold that the dog excreta cause a host of diseases apart from polluting the pathways. As regards the assault on the people, the stray dogs spare none; children and women are the most vulnerable. Notably, the animals also chase a passing bike or car.   Not a single area is without packs of stray dogs which have consumed precious lives and injured thousands. The government must   check the dog menace in earnest.


There is no denying the fact that stray dogs behave as dangerously at villages as they do in towns — a fact calling for tackling the menace in a civilized fashion for the wellbeing of all the citizens living anywhere. Just moving the dogs from place to place amounts to ducking out of the responsibility in utter disregard to the constitutional guarantees related to the safety of human life. Plus it creates appalling dimensions of the stray dog concern, reducing the rule of law and public welfare to sheer jargon.


For this key issue (the stray dog overpopulation), the solution requires a multi-pronged approach. To begin with, the government needs to implement effective animal control measures and waste management to take away open litter from the roads. Also, government needs to also implement sterilization programs, vaccination drives, and effective enforcement of laws to ensure the stray dog control.


Transferring stray dogs to the rural areas must come to an end. We need to realize that by sending these animals into the villages, we are literally treating the village people as second class citizens with the underlying notion that their life does not matter. That notion, in effect, is barbaric and against the democratic spirit under which all lives matter.



(Author is a teacher and RK Columnist. Feedback at:  sheikhshabir518@gmail.com

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