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:
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.
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.
- 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.