“Feeding is a crucial part of reducing stray dog population”
Dharamsala, September 1, 2021 – Following the recent statement by the Delhi High Court on July 1, 2021, stating “Community dogs have the right to food and citizens have the right to feed community dogs”, Dharamsala Animal Rescue (DAR) is launching a national marketing campaign today, stating that feeding is a crucial part of reducing stray dog population.
The core of DAR’s campaign is a short film showing how feeding the dogs eliminates emigration, increases welfare, and eases catching for sterilisation. In addition, the film gives important information to stray animal feeders who are facing harassment and aggression everyday.
INTERNATIONAL COMPANION ANIMAL MANAGEMENT (ICAM) COALITION SUPPORTS DOG FEEDING
Last month, the ICAM Coalition* issued a statement rethinking dog population control through limiting food resources. Indeed, discouragement of feeding roaming animals and reduction of organic waste food sources has often been, and is still considered by some, a valid option for reducing stray animal populations. But ICAM now states: “There are no publications, grey literature or anecdotes of solid waste management being improved with a resulting impact on stray dog numbers. (…) There may instead be behaviour changes in the roaming animals, including defensive aggression over the remaining limited resources, as they become more desperate for food.
FEEDING HELPS STERILISATION PROGRAMS
Dharamsala Animal Rescue and other organisations in India (such as Blue Cross, who is starting a national vet training initiative for sterilisation, supported by Asia For Animals), are working hard to apply recommendations for humane dog population management (surveying, responsible dog ownership, community education, vaccination, etc). Sterilisation is a fundamental component of any program wishing to reduce stray dog populations. This is where feeding is crucial.
Feeding reduces the human/street dog conflict and eases the dog catching needed for stray dog sterilisation programs.
“DOGS ARE NOT DANGEROUS BY NATURE BUT BY CIRCUMSTANCES”
On Monday August 2nd, while dealing with the issue of poisoning street dogs in Kochi, the Kerala High Court had observed that “a dog is made ferocious by its circumstances, it is a myth that stray dogs are dangerous by nature” and that “killing or maiming the street dogs is not the way to make people safer.” On a further hearing on August 8, the Kerala High Court said that setting up feeding centres for stray dogs would ensure they do not become aggressive.
KNOW YOUR RIGHTS
- In Article 51-A of the Indian Constitution, The Ten Fundamental Duties includes: “It shall be duty of every citizen of India to protect & improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wildlife and to have compassion for living creatures.”
- Section 11 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act makes all animal cruelty a criminal offence.
- The Indian Penal Code 1860 has similar provisions:
- Section 428 and 429 provides severe punishment (up to 5 years imprisonment) to people resorting to dislocation, abduction and acts of cruelty towards community animals or pets.
- Section 506 It’s a crime to threaten abuse or harass neighbors who feed animals.
- Section 503 Intimidation is a criminal offence.
If anyone is facing harassment for feeding street animals, they should file an FIR, it’s their right.
If the local police refuse to take action, one can escalate to Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations (FIAPO) or People for Animals (PFA).
About DHARAMSALA ANIMAL RESCUE
India’s street dog population is estimated to be between 35–40 million and accounts for the highest number of rabies cases in the world with approximately 20,000 people dying from it every year. Dharamsala Animal Rescue’s mission is to help resolve the human/street dog conflict in Dharamsala by providing several key programs: spay/neuter, rabies vaccination, street animal rescue, street animal feeding, local adoption, and community education. Founded in 2008, DAR received the World Rabies Day 2019 Asia Award and has been a recipient of the SPCA International’s Shelter Support Fund since 2015.
*ICAM Coalition was formed in 2006 as a forum for discussion on global dog and cat management issues. The team includes key specialist groups such as: International Fund for Animal Welfare, FOUR PAWS, Humane Society International, Global Veterinary Community, Global Alliance for Rabies Control, and World Animal Protection.