Finding dogs on the street a home and promoting the Animal Birth Control (ABC) programme are the only solutions to the issue of stray dogs that is rife in most of the cities in the country, Amala Akkineni, actor-turned-animal rights activist, has said.

Talking to reporters after participating in a workshop on ‘ensuring effective adoption’ of street dogs organised by the Kerala Federation of Animal Protection Organisations here on Saturday, she said animal rights activist and non-governmental organisations working towards welfare of animals should promote adoption of Indian dogs, both puppies and adults.

‘Homeless to safe homes’, she said should be the mantra of the animal welfare organisations in promoting adoption. Amala, who is the founder of Blue Cross Hyderabad, said domesticating an Indian breed had its advantage in terms of the expenses involved. “I have six dogs and five of them are Indian breed. My own experience shows that it is highly economical and they are more effective as a guard,” she said.

On her experience working with Government agencies in Hyderabad, she said initially there was reluctance in adopting the ABC programme as a measure to control stray dog population rather than adopting execution as a method. It needed a lot of persuasion, she said, adding since 2006 the local bodies adopted ABC and was able to check the growth of stray dog population.

“Though there were cases of rabies in dogs, there was no human death due to rabies in the last five years,” she said. Mass execution of dogs, besides being a crime, was not a solution, as it would lead to migration of dogs to other areas from the place where the dogs were being executed,” she added.

On the initiatives taken by the Blue Cross in Hyderabad, she said more than 3 lakh animals, majority of them abandoned dogs, were rescued. It also had a shelter home in a two-acre site near Hyderabad. A number of schools encouraged their students to work with the agency as part of their community service programme. The students were given certificates for the service they render, she added. When asked about reports of her joining politics, she said the Aam Aadmi Party had approached sometime ago. “I am happy with the work and I don’t think one should join politics to do community service,” she said.

Participating in the workshop, Solai Rajan, manager for People for Animals, Trivandrum chapter, said as many as 67 puppies housed in its shelter homes were adopted by people till last June.