Thrice a year, when the maid who takes my pet dog Blackie down for walk, goes to her gaon on vacation , I have to take him for his daily walks.I take him to lane behind my housing society which has virtually no vehicular traffic and there is large playground adjacent to it.We are familiar with the stray dogs who have made it their home.Most of them are borne here.They are in three groups,and each group has it's own garbage dump. In the morning they are in group surrounding the ragpicker who picks up garbage from neighboring societies sorts the garbage,and keeps aside what she can sell,rest is again filled in plastic bins,from where its picked up by BMC garbage van.Pack of Dogs have that short period, to rummage through the garbage to look for and eat.Skirmishes and fights are common features,since Blackie is not one of the contender for food,they don't bother with him.rather two young dogs want to play with him,tail wagging but Blackie likes only one of them so to other one his response is is to ignore or start low growl which keeps him away.I would avoid feeding them when Blackie is around as controlling them is tough.
Everytime I look for the addition and passing away of old friends.Socksy who was hybrid between stray and may be Pom was intelligent leader of the pack, always ready to rush when intruder was spotted.He was on good terms with Blackie as both had grown up together.But in May, Soksy was weak and disinterested. He would not get up to greet and would look with pathetic eyes.His coat was dirty and there were patches where there was infection.He was being treated but it was a loosing battle.Today morning I did not find him in the pack.It's loss of a friend. Kalu is stray,strong and present leader of the pack.He has many scars to show for the battle fought and won in last 2 yrs.There is a bitch in the pack. she is pregnant at present.May be this would be her third litter.I hope this time few of the new born will survive.From her last littre none survived.But should they?
It's pathetic situation.Since High Court has passed the judgment directing BMC not to kill strays, BMC has lost interest in them.It seems its more profitable for BMC to catch and KILL strays than to catch and sterilize them.NGO who had filed the PIL doesn't have financial or managerial resources to carry out sterilization of strays.They are dependent on BMC to give land to keep sterilized dogs.BMC would hate to part with anything.So there is explosion of Canine population.There is great strain on space and availability of food.Since pack guards its territory fiercely, there are fights and many are seriously injured.Weak ones have to sneak in others territory for food.If they are spotted, they are attacked and injured.Last May a dog had sneaked into our area at night.He was spotted and attacked.He took shelter under the School Bus parked during vacation.Hungry and thirsty he dare not come out from his safe place.He was so fearful that he would not come near the edge.It took almost an hour to cajole him to come and eat Biscuit and milk.He had wounds on the back, near ear and another near leg.During night he managed to sneak away safely- hopefully.When I was a child, we had practice of keeping aside food for Dogs and cows was believed by Hindus that feeding Dogs and Cows will prevent fights among members of the joint family and bring prosperity.Today the practice is dead and with fridge in every house there are no leftovers to feed stray dogs.So canine population has exploded and food source has dwindled.This is slow,painful death by starvation and disease.
Is there a solution to this problem? I don't know.These days one hears constant complaints about stray dogs creating mayhem.Their incessant barking and fights at night are the constant cause of complaint.Last month a stray who was attacking passerbys was stoned to death in Andheri.Group of sickos brutally killed a bitch and tried to burn her.In future stray dogs will be more aggressive as available space for them will reduce.There is no communication and coordination among NGOs workig for strays.Availability of funds is a problem for any animal lover.But people have inherent love for dogs and are willing to help care for them.A milkmen gives milk for all the three packs while supplying milk in our area.An old lady lugs heavy bag filled with chiken legs to feed strays in almost 2 km.area.She refuses all help and does this as mission.Its time for all the Animal Lovers and NGOs to pool their resources and carryout directed help in more organised manner.This problem requires urgent solution.Any suggestions from our IIM trained bloggers? I urge them to apply their skills to find solution to this problem.