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Moto Paws: Glowing collars for canine friends

Members of the local chapter of Moto Paws, who work a project to fit stray dogs with reflective collars that shine in the dark and make animals more easily visible, at the weekend meet with their pets on Beach Road   | Photo Credit: K_R_DEEPAK;K_R_DEEPAK -

It is one of those late nights in Vizag when the streets plunge into darkness and you have to navigate through the night haze. As you drive, a stray dog suddenly surfaces in your headlights, and all you try to do is swerve and hope for the best. Thankfully, a group of animal lovers in the city are now taking a novel initiative to address this frequent nightmare for motorists. The solution is simple: make the dogs glow so that they can be seen at a distance by the driver.



It is with this idea that Motopaws was started in Pune and is spreading its wings to several other cities including Vizag. It has initiated a project to fit stray dogs with reflective collars that shine in the dark and make animals more easily visible.



Recently, the project was funded with an undisclosed amount by Ratan Tata, who is an avid dog lover himself. At the moment, 70 per cent of the costs are supported by Tata and 30 per cent by the volunteers. This novel concept was the brainchild of Shantanu Naidu, a Pune-based design engineer who works with the Tata group.



The community was formed nine months ago to save stray dogs from being run over by vehicles. “I was making a video on stray dog deaths and during the survey I realised 90 per cent of drivers could not spot the dogs on the road. I knew that visibility was an issue that I had to address,” says Naidu. Awareness campaigns were not an answer to this and so Naidu came up with a scientific solution. He designed the first prototype of the collar with a retro reflective material used for automotive purpose. “The specialty of this material is that it doesn’t reflect unless headlights fall on it,” he adds. The retro-reflective collar is made using denim and retro-reflective fabric — which is used on safety jackets. It took Naidu about a month to finalise the design. A team of trained tailors in Pune make the collars that are then shipped to other cities for free.



For day time visibility, he used the orange mesh used for security jackets. In the pilot programme, the young team of animal lovers collared 300 stray dogs in Pune. The response was great. Over the past couple of months, Motopaws volunteers have been able to collar 5,000 dogs across 20 cities such as Bangalore, Goa, Delhi, Mysore and Tirupur.



Vizag Chapter



Motopaws first programme for collaring strays in Vizag will be on May 22.



Kranti Das, who is heading the local chapter, has a team of 20 members now. Every Sunday morning, the members meet with their pets at the Beach Road and plan the activities for the week. “The May 22 programme will take place simultaneously across the 20 cities where Motopaws functions. We are getting 75 collars from Pune for the stray dogs in the city,” says Kranti Das. Apart from this, the group also conducts activities like rescuing dogs, grooming them and keeping the animals for adoption. We also do home checks for ill treatment of pets,” she adds. The collars are presently shipped out to the cities for free from Pune. Kranti says for the next monthly collaring programme, she will be collecting denims from the city volunteers and people can donate their old jeans for the purpose. One pair of jeans makes eight collars and the material is strong but light for the dogs.



The organisation is now collecting statistics related to dog deaths and injuries due to accidents, so that they can have better accountability of the results of their efforts.



To contact the Vizag chapter of Motopaws, call Kranti at 9959444648.




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Printable version | Oct 19, 2021 5:29:41 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/Moto-Paws-Glowing-collars-for-canine-friends/article14304594.ece

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