No, New York Times, Indian stray dogs aren’t like that

  • By: Dog
  • Aug 08, 2012

This New York Times article on Indian stray dogs – Where Streets Are Thronged With Strays Baring Fangs rages my heart like a gasoline tank on the verge of a spark. The NYT article on Indian stray dogs and their feral ferocity is baseless and doesn’t present the true picture.

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

New York Times Indian stray dogs
Cathie & my cousins playing with stray dogs.

New York Times Indian stray dogs

 “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 the 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 dogs, 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. A 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 force them to behave sometimes in a manner which again makes us blame them.

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.

Suggested Reading: Indian stray dogs and their rights. and what makes Indian pariah dogs the best pets?

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