New York Times: Where the words are wicked…

This New York Times article Where Streets Are Thronged With Strays Baring Fangs rages my heart like a gasoline tank on the verge of a spark.

Mr. Gardiner, you are making some bold statements in your article, hope some of these startling facts wake you to reality.

 “When the catch-and-kill policy started in 1860 in Chennai, they used to kill two dogs per week. But the procedure did not show any results even after being implemented for 100 years. In the 1990s, almost 16,000 dogs were being culled every year but they continued to multiply. However, after implementation of ABC rules, rabies cases in Chennai reduced from 120 in 1996 to zero in 2007.” 

~Co-founder and chairman of Blue Cross of India, S Chinny Krishna 

I hope some of the readers unlike the stone pelting writer understand that it’s not the dogs at fault but the municipal machinery which has not carried out Animal Birth Control effectively.

“I and others look after all the strays in the Lodhi Gardens area and rarely has a bite (leave alone killing of a pet dog by strays) been reported from there. When bites are reported, it always turns out that the ‘offending’ dog was either being teased or stoned by some ignorant person/s, or the biter was a pet dog.”

~Madhu Goyal

“Your article has given a very lopsided view of the situation. Sadly, as human beings, we fail to see what is obvious, and that is the fact that dogs are after all, a species that is incapable of utilizing modern science and medicine to their benefit. Also, an epidemic of stray dogs cannot be prevented by the canine world on its own. What should have been mentioned is why the municipal authorities do not make it their priority to keep the streets secure from rabid dogs or packs of dogs. Why aren’t the dogs regularly neutered and spayed? Most importantly, killing animals of any kind isn’t the solution, morally or otherwise. To every example cited by your correspondents, I can give you an equally heart warming story of when a dog protected a house from getting burgled, a colony from being robbed or an infant being protected against a snake. Would that make you believe all dogs are saints? Calling them scavengers and fang baring creatures have painted an entire species to be villainous and sadly, they can’t defend themselves. In this story too, the greatest malady is the lack of concern shown by the municipal authorities and not the animals. Hope you do see that clearly.”

~Runa Mukherjee, writer/editor and dog lover

“Dogs are not known to attack unless provoked. And by provocation I do not mean an exaggerated display of violence, though we have enough of that too.  It means subjecting another living being to conditions of extreme hunger and thirst. Human beings are known to have killed each other over food and money. Did we go around planning a campaign to eradicate all the starving and tired humans from the face of the earth? For that matter when we kill other animals to satisfy our own hunger does that call for a mass revolt against us? Try sharing a bit of your food with any dog. The quantity is immaterial. And after that when he looks at you with all the love in his doggy eyes, tell me you want to join a brigade against him!”

~Hitesha Deshpande, author and a devout dog lover

“Frankly, I’m quite shocked by the article published by New York Times on street dogs of India. It is more alarming because I expect much better from such a reputable publication. Here the problem glorified is that stray dogs attack and infect people. While they were quick to point out the growing population of stray dags, unfortunately, they chose to ignore the dismal and pathetic attempts by the local authorities and government to do something about it. The problem here is not that there is a spurt in the population of stray dogs or that they are infected. The problem here is that a proper sterilization and vaccination program is not in effect.
Once again we blame animals for the problem created by humans. Dogs here are the victims. If we sterilize the current present population of stray dogs, simply, the population will be in control. Simple step such as vaccinating them will prevent the spread of rabies and other infections. Also, sadly, good NGOs and shelters for dogs remain a distant dream. Hunger and cruelty at the hands of humans forces them to behave sometimes in manner which again makes us blame them.

Drastic steps, as suggested by the educated member of Punjab Legislative Assembly who proposed in June of sending strays to China- to be eaten, makes me question who the animal really is. 

What we need is an effective solution. Will the stray dogs be saved? That is the question.”

~Mahima Kukreja, blogger and dog lover

“Instead of teaching tolerance and empathy towards animals, I have seen parents transfer their fear of animals to their children. So, when the adults are not around, and I’m walking Veeroo (my Red Setter), I encourage kids to come and make friends with him. On one such meet-and-greet occasion, one nine-year old girl asked me if I had got the “poison removed from the dog’s teeth”! I’ve never heard anything more bizarre and I’m sure the girl must have learnt this from her parents or adults around her! Sheesh!”

 ~Adite Banerjie

Just another case when what Gardiner Harris calls as ‘India’s snarling stray menace’ proved to be otherwise.

Talking of westerner’s viewpoint of stray dogs in India, Mr. Gardiner what’s your take on this picture? Does any human life looks threatened?

"friendly indian stray dogs", New York Times article where streets are thronged with strays
Cathie & my cousins playing with stray dogs.

Suggested Reading:

Here’s a useful link on Indian stray dogs and their rights

 Why killing stray dogs isn’t the solution?

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8 thoughts on “New York Times: Where the words are wicked…”

  1. oooooooooohhhhhhhhhhh………….. it makes me ANGRY

    I’m a pet parent AND a mother to an infant AND live in a colony where there are at-least a dozen strays live. And this article boils my blood…. I’ve NEVER seen, heard or met anyone in the colony who has been bitten, barked at or growled… The children in society have a play yard where you can find the strays lounging all day long. The kids play near and around them all the time… I walk my pet Lab in the same area and have NEVER been barked at…if anything my Lab would strain the leash to go and play with them…

    I’m so angry that I really am finding it hard to even type properly…

  2. This New York Times article was infuriating and clearly so ill-researched.
    It’s like someone with a biased point of you just googled some facts to put forth their misplaced and biased perspective. The New York Times has gone down exponentially in my eyes; that they would publish such shoddy stuff.
    Good job on providing a point of view that is rational.

  3. Thank you for this response. It’s heartwarming to see many others share my sentiments in noticing that the ny times article was complete garbage and a one-sided story. It looks like this Gardiner dude has some serious grudge against dogs. Maybe a volunteer work at an NGO that rehomes indian street dogs should be an agenda with this guy to see the other side of the story.

  4. I had suspected that the NYT article had a particular bias when I first saw it, so it’s refreshing to me to see your first-hand perspective. Thank you for sharing.

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