Since 2004, International Dog Day has been celebrated on August 26 every year to spread the message encouraging people to adopt more dogs instead of buying them. However, even in 2022, disturbing news such as ‘stray dog tortured and killed’, ‘dog brutally tortured’, ‘puppy beaten/strangled to death’ continue to make headlines.
Tortured, harassed street dogs – whose fault is it?
Peeling stones, throwing water on them, tying a rope around the neck and pulling forcefully, hitting with sticks, attaching firecrackers to their tails and spraying Holi colors all over the body are some of the common forms of cruelty that we see in India till date. . In addition, people who feed stray dogs and have them vaccinated and sterilized are often victims of intimidation and harassment.
Sharing his view on the same ahead of International Dog Day, Ashish Joshi from Aurangabad, who has been rescuing stray dogs since 2012 and currently feeds around 250 dogs a day in his locality every day, told CSR Journal, “ Young people who are often found torturing dogs, I don’t think it’s their fault. It’s more the fault of their parents. If you notice that a couple is walking down the street with their child and a stray dog approaches them, they will immediately chase it away, even if it did not harm them. These actions of the parents leave a deep impact on the mind of the child. The child observes this behavior and grows up learning that it is not necessary to show kindness to street dogs and that it is okay to hit or scare them.
How can we change the image
Ashish, an architecture student, not only feeds stray animals within a 10km radius of his home, but he also has them neutered and vaccinated regularly. At home, he has kept a few physically disabled independent dogs as pets who will not be able to survive on the streets.
Suggesting how we can change the image of cruelty to street dogs, the 24-year-old suggested: “This mindset needs to change. For example, if you go grocery shopping with your child, instead of chasing the street dog out of your house, please feed it cookies. This will set a positive example for the child to grow up loving animals or at least being kind to them. The child will in turn encourage their friends, siblings or cousins to do the same. It’s a way to reduce animal cruelty.
Why is it necessary to adopt and rescue street dogs?
Asked on the same subject, Ashish replied, “The majority of people who buy puppies from breeders don’t even know what the cost of maintaining that dog will be for its lifetime. The amount people spend on a foreign breed dog is enough to pet 10 independent dogs their entire lives. I tried to raise awareness that if you want to give a puppy for example for someone’s birthday, why not opt for an indie instead of a Labrador? »
“Please feed stray dogs when you walk your pet. Please allow stray dogs to seek shelter in your home when it’s raining. These basic acts of kindness can make the world easier for stray dogs who suffer a great deal every day. Please start this practice and encourage others to do the same. Because all you will get is love and loyalty in return,” he added.
Hunted for keeping an independent dog as a pet
Kolkata’s Tanima Majumder, whose Facebook page dedicated to her 11-year-old independent ‘Chiku’ has over 50,000 followers, has opened up about the negativity and trolling she has faced and continues to face until this day. Opening up on the same, Tanima told CSR Journal, “Chiku is a social media celebrity, but I’m facing trolling to this day. Although I get a lot of love from our local residents as well as netizens, but unfortunately, there are people who taunt me for keeping a “leri kukur” (independent dog) as a pet. I brought Chiku home when he was only a month old and it’s been six years since I started this Facebook page. At that time, I faced a lot of negativity and trolling from a section of internet users just because my dog is a freelancer. Tired of this negativity, I had disabled messaging on the page.
Lockdown learned how dogs can be our best companion
“However, the scenario changed a lot after the Covid-19 outbreak in 2020. This is because people realized during lockdown how our pets can be our best friends and companions. My page now has over 50,000 followers. Love is pouring in not only from social media, lots of strangers visit my house just to meet my 11-year-old indie and hang out with him,” she said with a smile.
Tanima is a single mother residing in Chuchura (or Chinsurah, Hooghly district) in West Bengal with her 8-year-old son and 11-year-old independent dog Chiku. Before Chiku, there was a Labrador in her house. “From personal experience I mean it is much easier to pet and train an independent dog compared to any foreign breed. There is not much training required as the indies understand our body language very well. Their immune power is also very good,” she said.
Raise your voice against cruelty to stray dogs
Tanima believes it is very important to raise your voice in protest against animal cruelty whenever you see it happening. She said: ‘I’ve seen people who love their pets but are often mean to strays. That’s what inspired me to adopt Chiku 11 years ago. A dog is like your child, he’s not supposed to do stunts and please you. Please don’t make them do this. Whatever breed of dog you have at home and even if you don’t, please show a little kindness to stray dogs on the road. Feed them whatever you can whenever possible. Because most of you have no idea how much and how you suffer, many of you also fall prey to human torture.
Teach children to grow up as responsible humans
“Also, if you see a dog or puppy anywhere being tortured or harassed on the road, please raise your voice and protest immediately. I have been doing this in my community for 20 years and believe me it makes a difference. I saw the change coming. Every dog in our community is now happy and safe. If you adopt an indie home, your heart will cry for those hurting on the road, take my word for it. I am raising my biological son Riju with my other child Chiku. I want my son to grow up with the mindset to protest any time a dog is harassed or tortured,” she concluded.