If I have to choose between the two I will take a deer anytime—that tall gentle creature of the wild who sometimes strays close to humans! There is an elegance in his stance and when I see him through my camera lens I am stunned by his stillness. He makes a perfect shot before the click makes him leap across and disappear into the wilderness.
Today’s headlines in DC broke my heart—Another deer found dead at University of Hyderabad (UOH), with the tag line…’ over 100 deer dead in 2 years’.
The university is located on 2300-odd acres. The campus is rich in flora and fauna, home to over 734 flower plants, ten species of mammals, fifteen species of reptiles, and 220 species of birds. It is one of the few places in the city where it is still a pleasure to drive on that single arterial road that connects the various departments.
The physical sprawl of the University of Hyderabad and the general air of tranquillity is probably what encourages the deer and other animals to stray on to the campus. But what the last spotted deer did not expect was to be attacked by a pack of stray dogs who killed it and ate it up.
The Honorable Supreme court has this law that prevents cruelty to animals, with plenty of clauses about the punishments that could be meted out to those who flout it. I am told about it every time I protest about a stray having jumped on me or on a friend, who fell over backwards and hurt her back.
Having gone through an India Today article titled ‘6 rights every animal lover from India should know’, what I would like to bring to the notice of the Hon Supreme Court is the 6th clause :
The implementation of these rules largely depends on the NGOs.
Stray dogs are protected under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, and rules enacted under Section 38 of the act, particularly, the Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules, 2001; Indian Penal Code, sections 428 & 429 and Article 51A (g) of the Constitution.’ Despite such extensive laws, people go free without punishment because bringing them to justice is a difficult task.
We all know that the one hyperactive NGO Blue Cross, which was instrumental in helping bring about this law, has stopped the sterilization of stray dogs. The other humungous Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) does not do what it should be doing. So, our roads are being taken over by stray dogs.
You ask them to take the bigger dogs and get them sterilized, they wash their hands off it—they tell us, senior citizens, “Aap pakad kar de do, hum kar denge (you catch the dogs and give them to us, we will do the needful).”
If I could, I would, but I cannot!
So we have a burgeoning population of strays everywhere; outside eateries, in front of our homes, at every nook and cranny. One bitch with her freshly minted litter has bitten the legs of at least 5 people I know—and all because they walked close to where her babies were on the side of the road.
So between the heavy traffic of giant cars who race through residential areas and cannot be restrained and multiplying dogs who chase two-wheelers endlessly, where do people like us walk?
Please remember I am a dog lover and have grown up with dogs all around. I still have two dogs in my house which go out on the road only on a leash and only for a walk.
To all Dog Lovers, I would say – Please feed the dogs and TAKE them home—look after them, vaccinate them, sterilize/spay them and feed them….. So that no other deer or senior citizen is ever attacked again.
And for the Lawmakers, the law that was set in place in 1960 needs to be repealed so that people have a better chance of survival. They have to realize that animal activists and their feeding of stray animals are causing such severe constraints on the burgeoning population of the country. The dog menace is rising – every day there are cases of kids being mauled, babies being killed and now… a deer.
I request the Honorable Supreme Court to make the change so that people can survive. Let the dog lovers keep their dogs in their compounds while the rest are culled. One cynic, who also happens to be a dog lover remarked, “It is easy to feed the dogs on the road; if they kept all these dogs inside their homes, it would be impossible to keep the place clean! Safai kaun karega?’“
***The author of this article is talking of punishing the people who kill the stray dogs, why not punish the organisations that have promised to do the birth control process and are not doing what they should?