Hope For Our Stray Canines

The Welfare of Stray Dogs, India

Indrajit Banerjee on June 22, 2018 in Animal Welfare

India, a land which almost accepts everything, the land which is skeptical to change harbours a significantly dominant number of stray dogs which though unnoticed by both the elite and underprivileged is actually not so a minor issue as it is believed to be. Their breeding goes on in multiples, but no one cares not even the Government as it doesn’t get documented in the census.

Amidst all the indifferent attitudes of countrymen the specie expands widely, but thoughts about them only descends when someone is struck with rabies. The issue gets highlighted when an outcome of the same, rabies, comes into the scenario. Rabies is endemic in India, where about 15 million people are bitten by animals, mostly dogs, every year and need post exposure prophylaxis. Since 1985, India has reported an estimated 25 000–30 000 human deaths from rabies annually.  Large amounts of exposed garbage, provides an abundant source of food for the stray canines and even the practice of rearing up these dogs as pets are quite prevalent and encouraged in slum India.  Mumbai has over 12 million human residents, of whom over half are slum-dwellers. At least 500 tonnes of garbage remain uncollected daily. Therefore conditions are perfect for supporting a particularly large population of street dogs.

The welfare of stray dogs is a non-profit trust dedicated to helping street dogs. The trust was set up in 1985 and is registered as a charitable trust under the Bombay Public Trusts Act, 1950. Since 1989 the unit has been carrying out a mass sterilisation programme for street dogs, following the recommendations of the World Health Organisation on rabies eradication and dog population control. They also conduct an on-site first aid and vaccination programme, education and awareness programme and put up abandoned pets and pariahs for adoption.

For decades the Municipal Corporation of Mumbai used to kill up to 50,000 street dogs annually. The method used was electrocution. In 1994, in response to demands made by their organisation and others, dog-killing was replaced by mass sterilisation and immunisation of street dogs. Under this programme, street dogs are surgically neutered and then replaced in their own area. They are also vaccinated against rabies. The dog population becomes stable, non-breeding, non-aggressive and rabies-free, and it gradually decreases over a period of time.

Backed by a team of highly skilled and specialised professionals the unit majorly works in areas like Municipal Dog Pound, Mahalaxmi, Mumbai (on lease from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation) alongside the streets and slums of Mumbai.  Mass sterilization programme is carried out at the kennels provided by the municipal corporation of Mumbai. On an average they carry out around 250 sterilisations a month. They have neutered over 33,500 street dogs. They regularly vaccinate a large number of street dogs on site. In all the unit has protected 37,000 dogs against rabies. From May 2000 to May 2001 the Brihanmumbai (Greater Bombay) Municipal Corporation collaborated with them on this project.  They re-home many abandoned pets and also try to find good homes for street dogs. Each dog is put through a temperament test by trained volunteers. They believe, the adoption procedure for a dog requires as much care as the adoption of a child.  Several awareness campaigns are also organised from the unit’s side, presentations in schools and clubs goes on in both Hindi and Marathi.

Through the years, WSD has impacted the lives of 1,50,000 street dogs through sterilization, vaccination, healthcare and adoption.  There work goes on in full swing with aids coming from several people through their significant or minute capacities. They are weaving a better future for several neglected canines and also making our country a healthier place to dwell in.

To read more about the inspirational work they are doing, visit The Welfare of Stray Dogs today!

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