Bangalore is also about stray dogs
The paradox is too striking. It's amazing that after so much of debate, we still haven't found a humane method of ridding Bangalore's streets of dogs. How easily the issue has shifted from the "stray dog menace" to the "killing of innocent dogs". Not surprising -- this issue, like many others, is handled in a reactionary rather than a constructive manner. It's definitely not that there aren't solutions.
I like dogs. I also have had an unforgettable, terrifying midnight encounter with stray dogs, with one of them biting me. And, I have to very often avoid stray dogs.
(I know I am not among the lucky people.)
Like at 11 in the morning, when I walk to the nearby department store or to the vegetable shop, I have to walk carefully in order to avoid provoking dogs. And, being bitten a second time.
Easy to lament, but tough to see reason. So, I look around and I find that not all dogs that appear stray, are so. Many belong to people -- from lower middleclass to absolutely poor -- who live in houses that aren't secure. Their houses and huts have no boundary walls. Their dogs are their only safety, both at night time and day time.
Some of these tents and huts that house construction workers, are within or beside upmarket residential layouts; and dogs freely roam around the place.
Dogs, as we all know, are very conscious of territory. So, when I walk to the nearby department store, I am worried about what the dogs that are sleeping under the tree think their territory is, and whether I am encroaching their area.
(Of course there is an easy solution: don't walk to the department store, just take the car.)
When the Animal Birth Control programme was launched the logic was: the population of stray dogs will progressively reduce, and Bangalore will be rid of dogs. It should have. But the population of stray dogs has only increased.
We haven't been able to stop encroachments. We haven't been able ensure clean surroundings. We haven't been able to regulate the growth of Bangalore.
Can we rid the city of stray dogs?
True, it's meaningless to round up at random dogs from the streets and kill them arbitrarily. But, we don't have any other way either, do we? So much for our human and monetary resources. So much for the progress we have made.
People are held to ransom daily in one way or the other, so what difference does a few stray dogs make?
When one looks around, sometimes, it's so difficult not to feel helpless. We have to put up with stray dogs; because Bangalore has found no humane way to rid the streets of them.
Accept this reality.
(If you can't travel by car, just keep away from stray dogs.)