This refers to media reports that animal lovers in Bangalore have sought the intervention of President Abdul Kalam to stop the killing of stray dogs by the municipal corporation. The animal rights activists should do more to fix the problem than raise meaningless protests. Most stray dogs lead miserable lives, scavenging for rotten food. They starve and are affected by painful and debilitating diseases, some of which are communicable to humans.

The better-looking dogs may sometimes be petted and fed. But animal rights folks hardly intervene when people stone dogs while they try to catch a nap or poke through some trash for food. If they can do nothing to feed and shelter thousands of such dogs, they should keep quiet when the death of two children has finally prompted some action. They should take the dogs into their own homes and care for them or get out of the way of the authorities.

Ramesh Gopalan,

It is time for those who want to save human lives from stray dogs to petition the President. Almost all the victims who die of stray dog bite are poor, many of them children. Sterilisation of dogs will not stop them from biting or attacking people. Dogs as pets are wonderful but as strays, they are a threat to society.

S. Anand,

I do not believe that the killing of dogs is an effective solution to the problem. The street dogs of Bangalore are not hounds. They are small or medium sized dogs, mostly shy and mild-tempered. Local animal rescue groups should be allowed to get involved in a long-term, wise solution one that is born not out of fear but knowledge.

Pamela Benbow,
Winston-Salem, North Carolina

For every child that gets killed in a vehicle accident, do we kill the driver of the vehicle? Why do we think that the killing of thousands of stray dogs is the answer to the problem? Nothing can console the parents of the children who died in freak dog attacks. But two wrongs do not make a right. Responding to a killing with more killings is fundamentally wrong. Efforts should be made to ensure that the animal birth control and rabies vaccination programmes are run properly. Municipalities should clean up the streets to make them rubbish free. It should be impressed upon the people that if we treat stray dogs with kindness rather than throwing stones at them or beating them with sticks, they will not be so frightened. Surely, all this is better than mass extermination?

Rachel Wright,