Decades back, while studying in a primary school in Kanam, Kerala State, the villagers were shouting and chasing a stray dog. At last, the tired dog jumped in, sitting in front of a classroom while the teacher and kids were doing their mathematics class. Suddenly, the shooting sound and the final barking of the dog that fell dead into the class room frightened the class and the entire school. Can you imagine the scene and the fear-studded face of students who sat in the class? I was one among them!The crowd thanked the sharpshooter named Vavachan for saving the children and the villagers from the mad dog. If that incident had happened today, what would have happened? The sharp shooter, teacher, and headmaster would have been in jail.

Recently I happened to browse through a phenomenal book named ” Savage Humans and Stray Dogs” (Written by Hiranmay Karlekar, Consultant Editor of The Pioneer); let me quote from it.

“The mass slaughter of stray dogs in Bangalore and elsewhere in Karnataka in 2007 outraged animal lovers throughout India. While the killing of two children, attributed to such animals, was profoundly tragic, the authorities` response was both cruel and counter-productive in terms of a strategy for controlling stray dog populations”.

Savage Humans and Stray Dogs: A Study in Aggression – this book looks at human aggression and the entire range of relations between human and non-human living and is seen to be a manifestation of Universal Consciousness and, hence, deserving of justice and respect.

The author explores the psychological roots of violence, showing that in some cases, demand for the slaughter of animals reflects the transference of the genocidal impulse to it. This book is a stimulating read for people interested in studying behavioural psychology, aggression, violence, human-animal relations, and the environment. It would also be an invaluable resource for animal rights activists.

But my topic of discussion is now narrowed down to the nasty and scary situation of ever-growing stray dogs, and the recent death toll of around 21 innocent Malayalees caused by dog bites in Kerala State, India.

Rabies, also known as “The Mad Dog Disease,” is probably the most feared disease in Kerala. Rabies is the reason why an extensive section of our society is afraid of dogs and other stray animals.

The most unexpected human dog conflict is happening in the densely populated villages and towns in Kerala. Over the last month, more than 100 stray dogs have been culled by angry residents in many places in Kerala. Locals beat about 50 dogs to death after a 90-year-old man sleeping on his verandah was mauled to death by a pack of stray dogs at Varkala.

Another similar case of a 65-year-old woman and a student is triggering the need for urgent attention by the government. Within these few days, many scary instances of stray dog attacks on children and adults have been reported. The viral video of a small boy while cycling, attacked by a mad dog, and the scene of the dog dragging the boy in the street is so cruel and pathetic. Where is the government machinery? Are they only interested in protecting Padayaathraas and grand festivals, while poor people are scared to death by the stray dogs waiting in front of their doorsteps and streets?

Jose Maveli, a businessman based in Kochi, leads a movement to eradicate stray dogs and openly advocates the brutal killing of mongrels.”Dogs that attack people should be killed,” says Maveli.

No doubt people are blaming the so-called animal lovers. Have street dogs ever bitten Menaka Gandhi, any ministers, or anyone in their family?

Menaka Gandhi, her love for the animals can’t be questioned. We all have a passion for many things. But, if she or anybody thinks that the street Dogs have full rights on the streets and roads in India to bark and attack us, that dream plan will be finally challenged by the public. It is an anti-human policy taken by her due to political pressure and mafia control while she had some hold in government. But what is her role now?

Public safety is the essential care any government should provide. Kill all stray dogs; only licensed dogs are to be permitted. What is the logic of keeping dangerous dogs when so many people are bitten and die? Why should the government spend unnecessary amounts on preserving and protecting dangerous animals, neither owned by any individual nor by the government? This is absolute negligence of authorities.

“We should sue the local panchayat or corporation that is in charge of the localities where stray dogs wander and cause panic to the public. Our politicians and elected representatives still maintain that old pride and arrogance to the level of ignoring the well-being of the people.

This attitude should be stopped once and forever. The public has been increasingly monitoring what they do, and their illicit relationships with drug mafia that promotes such situations must be curbed”.

No animals should be allowed to wander in public places. Where ever there is good governance, no unwanted animals are roaming around. Civic administration should be empowered to monitor the population of stray dogs, and should be eliminated. It is meaningless to cry aloud after every mishaps. We could kill pigs and ducks in thousands when they were spreading deceases. Why dangerous dogs should be preserved?

The same story happened to cows in the north earlier. They attacked and lynched beef eaters, but the cows were released on the streets. They died on the road, but the lynchers forgot to protect them. But we are foolishly preserving the dogs at taxpayers’ hard-earned money.

Of late I see a lot of craze in people to feed stray dogs. One lady on my street feeds around 20 dogs; they are a real nuisance to us, especially as they multiply. Sometimes they bark at us and, most times, they bark and howl so much. It’s very irritating in the nights. Somehow people do not object to that.

There are Mad Dog Trusts and Pet Care organizations, just for name sake. During the last two years of Covid-19, people showered much love and care for stray dogs, and the number of dogs obviously multiplied.

Killing dangerous animals and protecting people are the basics of good administration. It is easier to act like animal lovers, but to be one you have to be sincere about the reality. Remember, Human lives are more important than anything else. Otherwise the so proclaimed ‘God’s Own Country” will be notoriously known as “Dogs own Country” soon!

Dr.Mathew Joys

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