Understanding the street dogs-human conflict

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Source– The post is based on the article “Understanding the street dogs-human conflict” published in “The Hindu” on 28th March 2023.

Syllabus: GS3- Environment – Man- Animal Conflicts

Relevance– Issues related to stray animals

News– There is growing Intolerance against dogs and conflicts between humans and animals are increasing.

What are the reasons behind growing intolerance towards street dogs?

Resident Welfare Associations– They are often the instigators of violence. They do not have real power. Power demands that an enemy be identified. So, dogs living there peacefully become the target.

Animal instincts– Dogs get aggressive when they perceive a threat. They want to protect themselves or their litter from attacks if they are unwell or hungry.

They become aggressive if they are forcibly relocated, or have witnessed abuse and neglect.

Implementation of rules– The Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules of 2001 have been recommended by the WHO and the World Organisation for Animal Health as the only way to bring about a sustained decline in the dog population.

However, necessary measures have not been implemented by local authorities to manage the street dog population.

The lack of budget and infrastructure, the prevalence of corrupt and inefficient practices, and the absence of transparency and monitoring are the challenges in implementation.

Fascination for foreign breeds– It is responsible for bad treatment of native breeds. Business of Pet shops thrive due to it.

What are steps taken by the government to regulate foreign breeds?

In 2016, the Central government prohibited the import of pedigree dogs into India. In 2017, it notified Rules for strictly regulating dog breeders.

In 2018, following a recommendation by the Law Commission, the Pet Shop Rules were notified to prevent the trade of pedigree dogs.

What is the importance of street dogs?

If there is a vacuum created by killings of dogs, it will be occupied by a more inconvenient species, such as rats, mice, mongoose and cockroaches.

The London Plague of 1665 was a result of the killing of 2,50,000 dogs and cats. The mice population grew, and 70% of the human population was wiped out. A similar incident happened in Surat in the near past, when a plague scare was spread as a result of removing dogs.

What is the way forward to reduce the conflicts between humans and dogs?

The effective strategy would be the implementation of the ABC(Animal Birth Control) Programme by municipal bodies in accordance with the new ABC Rules of 2023.

A proactive approach would be to encourage the adoption of Indian dogs. If one person out of every 100 people adopts a dog from the street, there would be no dogs on the roads.

The native breeds of dogs should be promoted. Native dogs have better immune systems and make great pets.

The importance of people who look after native dogs on the streets has been recognised by our courts. In the new ABC Rules, community dog caregivers have been granted protection from harassment.

Reports of dog attacks must be tested on the benchmark of proof. Recently, it was reported that two children had been killed by dogs in Vasant Kunj in New Delhi. Still, it has not been proven.

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