Providing succour to canines proves herculean task for NGO
New Delhi: There are some things everyone loves about dogs –their loyalty, their unconditional love, those cute little puppies. But when strays make your street their home, the bad can begin to outweigh the good. They bark and sometimes bite, scare children and disrupt morning walks. They dart into the middle of the street without warning, causing accidents.
Across the national Capital, agencies failed to keep their numbers check and eventually Supreme Court ruled that states cannot, at least for now, kill strays to keep their numbers down. Instead, they must sterilise and vaccinate the dogs. In the exploding city where the clashes between human and canine populations have intensified, new formulas for peace are emerging.
According to an official at Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI), "Sterilisation and vaccination are still key, but any additional help is always welcome." He also added that citizen involvement is important because the more people speak up for strays, the more pressure there will be on the civic bodies and state governments to seek long-term sustainable solutions to the issue of stray dogs in cities."
For three years, Neighbourhood Woof, an NGO had been at war with the 100 odd strays sharing their space. Every two weeks, there were fresh reports of an attack or dog bite. While trying to find a lost puppy in the area outside her office, pet lover, Ayesha Christina said she realised that a lot of people care for strays but don't have the money to treat them in case of injury or sickness. So, she decided to run an NGO or free veterinary clinic with the help of North MCD. Three years old NGO has space for 100 dogs and 10 cats, an OPD section, an operating room. It is staffed by a team of 11 members, including two veterinary doctors.
She said entire operation costs in lakhs of rupees a month, but it has allowed her to treat over 250 stray dogs already, for everything from a broken leg to tumour surgery. "Every stray we get is sterilised and vaccinated so that when they go back on the street, they're safe," she said. She also added that the journey had lots of ups and downs. When Ayesha and her husband Rahul Ram met with the tough time for sheltering six street dogs in her home, ironically, the couple had to face court case for keeping dogs and faced hearing in Rohini court.
In another incident in 2015, Ayesha had been brutally assaulted by some residents of Delhi, when she was on the site to get the canine on the complaints of some dwellers. She also added, nearly 2,700 street dogs have been vaccinated under the programme. It's very fulfilling work, adds Dr Vivek, the full-time vet at the NGO. "We tell everyone to bring strays here for treatment. The more love and attention you shower on them, especially when they are injured, the less likely they are to attack or bite."