Tackling dog menace

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That the population of stray dogs has increased to dangerous proportions in Kashmir Valley and Srinagar city in particular is no news. Nor is there anything ‘newsworthy’ in that these canines are preying upon the hapless people here. But what is really lamentable is that despite these stray canines posing very serious dangers to the life of common people here, unconcerned civic authorities are yet to decide on how to deliver people from the menace. Indeed complete lack of concern shown by the government towards this problem is suggestive that if the situation is allowed to continue like this, the day is not far off when these dogs may actually outnumber the people in the City. In fact this is exactly the case once it gets dark – the number of dogs making hay in the lanes and bylanes, roads and streets of Srinagar is certainly more than the number of people that are around. And this is when these canines get to rule the entire territory, transforming the City into a wild country, overly dangerous for anyone who dares to trespass into this ‘country of dogs’.

It has been for quite some time now that the Divisional administration as well as the Municipal authorities have been talking of measures like confining the strays to so-called dog pounds and their artificial sterilization, but so far nothing worthwhile has been done although a few dozen canines were sterilized with much fanfare few years back. Dozens of people are bitten by these dogs daily on an average, some of them fatally. A cursory look on the hospital registers to see how many people visit these health institutions with dog-bites on daily basis is indicative of the extent and magnitude of the problem. But for reasons best known to them, the authorities vested with the responsibility of safeguarding and securing the safety of people have stopped doing their jobs. Crude it may sound, but isn’t it logical to question: do life, liberties, safety and security of the people here figure somewhere? Hindsight has it that the humans of this hapless Valley have lost it – they have slipped from the priority list of the government which misses no single opportunity to parrot that it cares for them (people). Had it not been so, then certainly the situation wouldn’t have been as pathetic as it is now. Then, the authorities would not have compromised the life and safety of the common people just to appease a few so-called animal rights activists whose conviction about what they preach remains suspect given their complete disregard for the basic rights of human-beings – their right to live.

Nobody is against the animals’ rights – their right to live – but it is also a fact that humans can (read should) tolerate pests only as long as they do not pose dangers to human life. Once these pests outgrow a certain limit and start interfering with the human security, measures to control their population become inevitable. This happens everywhere even in the developed societies where there is substantial presence of genuine animal rights activists besides a huge array of laws and regulations to ensure animal safety. For instance, in USA, the population of dangerous snakes and alligators is kept under control through their controlled hunting, while elsewhere also hunting is employed to check the population of wild bores, black and brown bears, crocodiles, and scores of other wild animals who pose dangers for human life. Mind it this hunting is officially permitted and patronized as a necessary measure to keep populations of such animals at bay so that they do not endanger human life. Now if the developed countries despite the abundance of wealth, technological knowhow and other requisite resources at their disposal, could allow culling of dangerous animals after their numbers surpass a certain limit, isn’t it ridiculous that the government here is dragging feet on initiating measures to control the unsafe population of stray dogs.

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