Municipality faces protests over decision to remove stray dogs

- September 1, 2023
| By : Muhammad Tahir |

The Municipal Corporation is in a spot as it plans to make roads free of dogs and safe for tourists and delegates but dog lovers are not relenting

Representational photo

The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) had to backtrack, for the time being, on its decision to pick stray dogs and lodge them in shelters ahead of the G20 Summit following protests from animal rights activists and residents. 

The MCD had devised a plan to remove stray dogs in the vicinity of G20 venues to avoid inconvenience to delegates and tourists. But it had to give up on it.

Also read: Compassion, awareness key to reducing dog bites: Experts

Sanjay Mohapatra, a member of Delhi-based NGO, House of Stray Animals (HSA), was one of the activists concerned about dogs.

“We raised the matter to NDMC. When the government officials pick up the animals to send them to shelters, they don’t tag the dogs and end up mixing them. The problem can arise after G20 Summit, when dogs return. Most of them may not be lodged in their own areas. Officials won’t find the exact location of dogs without tagging. When the areas of the dogs are changed, they become hyper and end up fighting each other. Chances of dog biting increase.”

Mohapatra offers a viable solution.

“They can make a temporary shelter in every area for three days and provide them with necessities such as water, milk, and treatment. For this, they can seek help from local animal feeders or volunteers. Dog feeders and volunteers should be issued passes for three days. The feeder vehicle should not be stopped. Lastly, dogs should be released in their own place after the event,” Mohapatra concluded.

According to India’s Livestock Census of 2012, more than 60,000 stray dogs live on Delhi’s streets. The civic body was planning to keep the dogs temporarily at the animal birth control (ABC) centres and release them only after the G20 summit.

Also read: Delhiites turning into dog’s dinner

Priya has been feeding dogs for the last five years in her area, Dakshinpuri. She also works at a dog centre in Noida. 

STOCKED UP: Bags of dog food lie at the House of Stray Animals NGO in Delhi. The NGO was one of the protesters against the plan to remove dogs

“There is Jahan Park near my home, where I feed 50 dogs. My sister or mother go to feed them daily when I am on duty. I feed them at night after returning from work. I don’t collect funds from anyone but spend from my own pocket,” she told Patriot.

She said that she will not allow MCD officials to take the dogs away. 

“We will not allow them to go, we will fight. What is the fault of these children (dogs). We will continue feeding them during day-time too.”

Jyoti Chopra, a resident of Prahladpur DDA Janta flats, has faced the ire of locals due to her habit of feeding stray dogs and animals.

“Some locals even pelted my house with stones since I was feeding dogs. But I didn’t break down,” says Jyoti.

She contacted Maneka Gandhi’s NGO (People For Animals) for help and now feeds the stray animals without fear. She has also been rescuing and treating dogs in the neighbourhood for around a decade. 

“I can leave my own child hungry but I can’t leave these animals hungry. If the city is shut for three days, then I will carry four days’ extra food for them in advance. I generally provide milk and bun to them. I used to feed 21 dogs but some died and now I feed 14 dogs.” 

Jyoti’s daughter explained her mother’s love for canines.  

“Mom has been doing this for the last 7-8 years. During the lockdown too, my parents went in search of food for dogs.” 

Sony Kaur, a dog lover, cares for dogs in Rajendra Nagar.

“There are a lot of street dogs here. I am a dog lover and have been feeding around 45 dogs for the last five years, morning and evening. I can’t bear to see cruelty against these dumb animals. I feed chicken and rice as well as Pedigree, dog food. People often object. Yesterday only, I faced a problem related to this. I filed a police complaint,” said Sony.

“If they are not hungry then they will not harm people and live calmly. I will continue to feed them during G20. I will not allow them to take these dogs away,” she said.

A member of HSA NGO told Patriot, “We will oppose the operation of NDMC or MCD to pick up the dogs and send them to shelters. Shelters are for sick dogs and sick people so it is not a good place for these healthy canines. When MCD revealed its plan for picking up animals, we shot an e-mail, tweeted them to not do it. We are coordinating with NDMC and MCD and asking them to allow us to feed them during these three days. We work on the ground, not them.

“We distribute food to all the feeders. We have around 250 feeders in different areas and provide the food free of cost. If the government doesn’t care for the dogs properly then I think there will be a big problem ahead,” she said.