Friday, September 23, 2011

Beauty from the eyes of a volunteer

Some pictures from Animal Aid Unlimited, a sanctuary for the neglected beings!

Scrub me tooo!

We all live together

cute piggies

More about the rescue and volunteer opportunities here Animal Aid Unlimited

This is the Saturday Pet bloggers blog hop!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Stray dogs in India.

There are more than 30 million stray dogs in India, in urban as well as rural areas. A good number of these dogs in the urban setting are more community dogs rather than feral. Stray dogs is used to refer to lost and abandoned pets or others that had been socialized to humans before taking to the free-ranging life, and feral refer to those who have lived all their lives apart from people.

Most free-roaming dogs belong to an ancient canine race known as the pariah dog, which has existed all over Asia and Africa ever since human beings started living in settlements. They are scavengers–that is, they live on garbage created by humans. In India the breed has existed for perhaps 14,000 years or more. In addition to scavenging, they are widely kept as pets by rural and urban slum households.

Part of the urban stray population consists of mongrels or mix-breeds–descended from pure-breed dogs that have been allowed to interbreed with pariahs.

The size of stray dog populations always corresponds to the size and character of the human population of the area. Urban India has two features which create and sustain stray dog populations:

1) Large amounts of exposed garbage, which provide an abundant source of food.

2) A huge population of slum and street-dwellers, who often keep the dogs as free-roaming pets.

Mumbai has over 12 million human residents, of whom over half are slum-dwellers. At least 500 tons of garbage remain uncollected daily. Therefore, conditions are perfect for supporting a particularly large population of stray dogs.

The problem:
The biggest problem created by these dogs is rabies an dog bites.

Rabies can be a fatal disease which can be transmitted to humans. Although all placental mammals can get and transmit rabies, dogs are one the most common carriers. India has the highest number of human rabies deaths in the world (estimated at 35,000 per year).

Dog bites can occur when dogs are trying to mate or fighting among themselves. Pedestrians and other humans in the vicinity may be bitten by the fighting dogs. Females with pups are often protective and may bite people who approach their litter.

The solution:
Killing the dogs doesnt really work. Mass killing is a fruitless, inhumane, ineffective task and certainly didn’t work in other countries too, like in the seven years that Bucharest permitted it – street dog numbers did not decline.

Most states in India have been killing stray dogs for decades. The idea came from ‘developed countries’ without understanding the very different urban conditions in India. India has rubbish dumps and slum areas, which attract strays. Dogs removed are easily replaced.

When a dog is taken away:
· His territory becomes vacant and dogs from around move in to occupy the area.
· Dogs continue to multiply, so the areas are soon filled again.
· Dog fights increase, because each time a new dog enters an area he is attacked by the dogs already in there.
· During dog fights many humans get accidentally bitten.
· Rabies spreads to humans, due to no vaccination programs of strays
· Rabies continues to spread because the dog-catchers are reluctant to pick up a rabid dog – so only healthy dogs get killed.

The effective solution is a methodical Sterilization, vaccination, adoption, education and clean living. Educating and reaching people about sterilization of not only stray dogs, but pets to control the population, educating about living in balance wit the dogs and extending compassion.

ABC Animal birth control scheme set up by the Indian government to control the dog population by sterilization as opposed to the traditional method of killing dogs.
Under this program, stray dogs are surgically neutered and then replaced in their own area. They are also vaccinated against rabies.
The problem of pathetic implementation of this scheme, and government shelters being torture chambers instead for the dogs is a different point that I will write about in another post.

It is a slow process and often, cities go back to culling and create problems for the Animal Welfare orgs. Lets all try to reach out to as many as we can and discuss the solutions. Volunteers make the biggest difference in any effort. Volunteers, who take their community dogs to sterilization and vaccination events, volunteers who help the abused or diseased animals.

Indian Pariah dogs, native dogs, and mixes actually make for great pets because they are native breeds and already accustomed to the land and climate unlike foreign breeds which fail to thrive as easily. Read more about the Indian Pariah dog and native breeds here

To Read more about Animal Birth control in India

There are always ethical questions about Excessive sterilization and eventual elimination of native breeds. But for right now the above solution is the current solution to help implement because
  • There is a big imbalance between the human dog peaceful existence in India. The apathy and lack of compassion will always lead to mass culling getting accepted as a normal thing.
  • It is generally accepted that many of the free-roaming dogs in Indian cities and towns(urban) are actually mix-breeds (mongrels), though some certainly look more "mixed" than others. Pure Pariah and native dogs are more common in rural and remote areas where there are no Eurobreeds or other types of dog to interbreed with.
  • There are 30 million strays in India. A good sterilization, vaccination implementation will reduce the occurrence and hence fear of rabies. Some additional compassion outreach, adoption and volunteer encouragement will help change the outlook towards strays.
Of course, these are ideal solutions and work best in theory. A practical implementation of the solution is far from being anywhere close to workable and much more painful for the dogs and humans both. Thank you for dropping by. Please do leave your comments and ideas about the post.

Saturday, September 17, 2011


I've been active on facebook with supporting rescues, effort, petitions and more, since there is only so far a blog can reach. Esp all the death row dogs, abuse cases and connecting pets to people.

There is always something I want to blog about though. So this blog will continue to be about rescues and animal welfare. This blog started as more of dog adoption, rescue. and training blog and now is expanding into all animal rescue and volunteer opportunities and more. My personal blog Hypnagogic of course is personal blab and about plant based diet and nutrition. And my food blog Hobby And More mainly about food! and veganizing some favorite recipes.

I am scrapping the find-me-a-happy-pet facebook page. Instead you can just subscribe to my status updates here , which are 99% about my work with animal rescues, petitions, veganism and more.:)

Do check out my recent series about Animal Aid and their amazing work in Udaipur, India.

Erika and Claire (Animal Aid)

I had the pleasure of meeting Erika and Claire from Animal Aid Unlimited in May this year.
From their website:
"Animal Aid is a US-based 501(c)3 charitable organization that runs a busy animal hospital and shelter in Udaipur, Rajasthan India, where ownerless street animals are rescued, healed, loved, and returned to the neighborhoods from where they came.

On their website you will find amazing animals and dedicated volunteers from all over the world working together with Animal Aid’s staff who serve fallen angels with tenderness, respect, and joy. Animal Aid’s purpose is to both bring relief to suffering animals, and to awaken compassion among people. Showing everyone a path for action. They have emergency rescue hotline and a sanctuary for the disabled animals as well."

We didnt realize where the 2 hours went. Usually, I freeze and speak minimally when new people visit me. But I was yapping away this time even though my balance was a bit off. We discussed about their organization, some others like Karuna Society and Visakha SPCA and the work of FIAPO(Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organizations). Among these orgs, they handle all sorts of things from helping one abuse case of a pet or a stray to rescuing, treating and providing a sanctuary to any animal from cows, dogs to donkeys, Or reaching out to the community with a message of compassion, about treating animals as sentient beings, about veganism, about the abuse at dairy and meat industry and more. They work on legislation or campaigns to help any animal problems as caged birds, stray dogs and cats, to stopping establishment of big factory farms and automated slaughter houses. Wildlife protection, sacrifices, animal birth control programs, Vegan meals for the poor, ban on plastic bags, you name it and one of these organizations is already working on it. And still there is so much to be done, so many campaigns to support, and continuous and collective effort to be made.

Just a short discussion about these kind of issues helps put things in perspective. Whether you are a compassionate person or not, a vegan or not, you are still a human, capable of evaluating and understanding. You can think and know, about the pain and suffering around you. You can, take a little time, find something small to do, and make a difference:).

More about the organizations mentioned here.

Do give these orgs a few minutes of your time and help in any way you can, be it a donation or sending needed supplies or volunteer work on site or administrative(online).