Animal lovers in the State say there is a concerted effort to portray street dogs as dangerous animals. .
Rajeev E.M. of Petlife Charitable Trust, Kozhikode, feels that dogs have taken to the streets increasingly in search of food as they do not often get food waste now with refuse management becoming more streamlined across the State. “The lockdown period was the worst for dogs as they starved to a great extent. After the lockdown was lifted, they took to the streets increasingly for survival,” he said.
With the increased media attention on the stray dog menace, he fears that courts may take the side of people advocating culling of ferocious and rabid dogs. “It may lead to uncontrolled killing of dogs without verifying whether they are dangerous or not,” he said, adding that the Trust was ready to take up the responsibility of running stray shelters if the government provided it land.
However, Derik Paul of Calicut Animal Rescuers and Encouragers (CARE) says that the increased attention on the issue had a positive outcome as well. “On one hand, media reports have instigated panic among the general public, who have started killing dogs when they get a chance. On the other hand, it has made the government more vigilant and receptive towards ideas to control the stray dog population,” he said pointing out that many local bodies were now coming forward to set up Animal Birth Control units, and vaccinate stray dogs.
He said the ABC programme at government level, even in Kozhikode where there was a fully functional ABC Centre, was not systematic and that it needed proper channelisation. “There is enough funds and facilities. But we need to be more serious about this for the programme to succeed,” he said, adding that animal lovers’ organisations could help the ABC programme to a great extent, only if they were given a place in the ABC committees at the local body level.
He also suggested an awareness drive to dissuade people from killing dogs out of fear.