Monday, June 24, 2024

Winter in city: Stray dogs hard hit


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Winter has arrived in the State and with it the lowly street dog has become hard hit. These quadruplets have to live their life in the open as they don’t have the luxury of a shelter or a kennel like their more fortunate domestic counterparts.

In Ukraine, the government there has decided to make shelters for stray dogs in several cities/towns of the country prior to the EURO 2012 Football Championship the country is hosting. The move is also aimed at finding a permanent solution to the problem of the large number of stray dogs found in that country.

Such a move is severely required here in the city although it is not holding any major championship in the coming future. The shelters in Ukraine will be built in accordance to the European Animal Asylums. Though such levels cannot be expected in Shillong, yet the authority here should spare a thought for these helpless animals that too need attention and care.

Residents from several localities like Laban, Oxford, Jaiaw, Riatsamthiah and others have mentioned that stray dogs are suffering a lot with the advent of winter in the city.

A resident of Kench’s Trace said that she recently came across a dog crying in despair at around 1 am in the morning. “It was crying and pushing the gate in front of our house with its fore legs. I called my husband and told him about the dog. We went out and opened the gate and brought the poor creature inside,” she said, adding that they sheltered it for some time before releasing it later.

“These creatures too need a house to live. If people can seek asylum than why can’t these dogs? Should they suffer only because they can’t speak,” she queried.

“During this time of the year, dogs howling and crying due to the cold and chill at night is a common phenomenon and the authorities must find a solution for these animals, which are part and parcel of the human society,” she added.

Another resident of Riatsamthiah said that once a dog followed her from the market to her home.

“I felt for the quadruplet since it was hungry and needed shelter. I fed it and then released it along with other street dogs in the locality,” she said. These residents are of the opinion that an animal shelter in the city is the need of the hour for these quadruplets.

Then there are also cases of dogs being abandoned by their owners.

“There are cases of pets being abandoned, say, when they develop a dreadful disease or the owner is leaving for another place and there is no one to look after these pets,” said a dog lover from Oakland, adding in such cases suddenly the pet finds itself in a tough situation and is mostly unable to cope with them.

Dog lovers also complained that though the country has a defined set of animal protection laws with enshrined codes of conduct with regard to treatment of domestic and wild animals and even the Constitution of India is replete with codes for animal welfare, yet the ground reality is far from satisfactory.

“I wonder if our State Government has ever thought of any welfare plan for these stray animals. Many governments have come and gone without doing anything for these helpless creatures,” a Veterinary student rued.

Meanwhile, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Shillong Municipal Board (SMB) said that animals are not allowed to stray in public places within the municipal jurisdiction and every pet owner has to compulsorily register their pets with the SMB.

Admitting that there is no asylum for these animals, the CEO said that presently the SMB keeps a watch over stray animals and whenever they come across such animals they catch them, maintain a database and then hand them over to whoever comes forward with a claim.

For now, stray dogs in the city have to fend for themselves since there is no available recourse. Perhaps the future might hold better promises for these strays. Like they say, every dog will have his day! (Rajib Roy)


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