Rights of Human Beings Vs Stray Dogs

November 24, 2022

According to an estimate, 600 million Stray dogs and cats live on the street worldwide. According to World Health organization, Greece alone is estimated to have 3 million stray dogs and cats in a country with 11 million inhabitants! According to another report, India has the largest number of strays in the world, with over 35 million.

Stray- dogs is a global problem with many incidents of street dogs attacking children and adults in many parts of the world. While some people are of the opinion that street is the natural habitat of stray dogs, others are of the view that stray dogs create a nuisance for the human living and they should be shifted to dog shelters. This dichotomy brings to the fore the paradox of importance of human rights vs animal rights!

When a man is attacked by other men, the law prosecutes and punishes the culprits. But when a precious human life is lost due to stray dog attack, who is to blame? Can the culprit dog be dragged to court? It is this aspect that the advocates of animal rights fail to understand.

In some countries like India, stray dog attack is a frequent news but at the same time animal sympathizers feeding the pack of stray dogs in residential areas of the city is a common sight. It often leads to skirmish between the dog feeders and the apartment dwellers.

Recently during my visit to my sister’s home n Mumbai, from nowhere, a dog followed me and bit my calf as soon as I entered the apartment premises. My sister told me that it is a stray dog and the apartment dwellers feed it regularly and they are not allowed to chase it away!

The so-called animal rights activists argue that stray dogs never attack human beings unless they are provoked. But it is far from the truth. I was attacked unprovoked despite being accompanied by my brother in law. There have been incidents of children carrying meat or fish being mauled to death.

There are hundreds of dogs roaming the streets in many cities and the Municipal authorities do not do more than catching the aggressive canine, neutering/vaccinating and then releasing them back in the same place. Even the authorities are not able to catch all the stray dogs as new once from the neighboring areas keep moving.

There are laws that prevent the authorities from eliminating the aggressive stray dogs. There are also people who have a soft corner to the attacking dogs. In such a situation, the victims of stray dog attack and other concerned people feel just helpless in voicing for their human rights.

So the most pertinent question everyone should ask is where do the stray dogs come from? Has it always been their natural habitat?

In the case of wild animals, forest is their natural habitat. But what about dogs? Should dogs be kept as pets or should they be roaming the streets chasing the moving vehicles and demanding food from the passers-by or apartment dwellers?

Stray dogs are a man-made problem. Every stray dog was once someone’s pet that was abandoned.

They now risk being hit by a car, susceptible to disease or other dangers on the street. Furthermore, they can pose a public health and safety risk to communities. They are bad for tourism and the general perception of a community and country. The existence of stray dogs cannot be allowed to perpetuate. The complexity of the problem requires a systemic solution.
There are 3 sources of stray dogs: lost dogs, abandoned dogs and dogs born stray.

Lost dogs

One source is a dog that had a home and became lost. Dog owners should ensure that their pets have collars with tags that bear the name and phone number of the owner so as to reunite the lost dog with the owner. Having the dogs microchipped and registered in local or national databases is the effective solution.

Abandoned dogs

Unfortunately, the most common cause is the deliberate abandonment of a dog by its owner. The expatriates sometime abandon their pets being unable to bear the expenses of repatriating the pets when they leave for good. Another reason for abandonment is the unwanted pregnancies of owned female dogs. These pregnancies are the result of female dogs not living in protected environments coming into contact with un-neutered male strays or owned but likewise free-roaming males. In rural areas, the pet owners often drive such extra puppies to a remote location and drop it off so that it can't find its way back home. Municipal trash collection points are common repositories of unwanted puppies.

Dogs Born stray

Many dogs are simply born stray. In most cases, they are first or second generation stray after their parents or grandparents were previously abandoned. Un-neutered female dogs are ‘in heat’ twice per year and, if impregnated, will give birth every six months to an average of seven puppies, depending on their size and breed. One female can therefore produce in average 14 puppies per year. While not every puppy will survive the harsh conditions on the street, the cycle of stray born dogs continues with every dog being abandoned.

The solution?

There is only one solution: responsible pet ownership.

Owners have a duty to provide sufficient and appropriate care for their pets, microchip and ideally neuter, or prevent from uncontrollable breeding. The care implies owners need to provide the resources such as food, water, shelter, health care and social interaction necessary for an individual pet to maintain an acceptable level of health and well-being in its environment.




By Anthony D’Souza
Anthony D’Souza is a lecturer in English, works for Bahrain Polytechnic, Bahrain.
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Comment on this article

  • Rakesh Kumar, Mangalore/Mubai

    Mon, Nov 28 2022

    The stray dog menace is true to some extent and needs some measures. But I cannot comprehend the logic put forth by the author. It might be an emotive issue for the author as he got bitten by a stray dog. But is that only stray dogs bite people? There are multiple episodes of pet dogs attacking people at residents, apartment societies etc., in the pet owner's presence. But the author effectively figures out the source of the stray dog population: lost dogs, abandoned dogs, and dogs born stray. But why not the reason for this source? Firstly, selfish people who own breed dogs as show pieces though knowing these breeds are not suitable for this region or belong to different mainlands. They abandon dogs when they get old or fall sick. Secondly, having a different attitude and not willing to own desi dogs that are best suited for this place. As pointed out by the author, dogs born stray is another source of the problem, but there are set rules and procedures explained concerning controlling the animal population. Why are all municipal corporations not conducting neutering stray dogs as a mandate? Few activists speak, pose while feeding, and act like dog lovers but are not compassionate toward other living beings. Yet some amazing people pick a stray dog, take it to the veterinary clinic, neuter it, care for it until it recovers at their expense, and leave it where it belongs. Lastly, why do humans consider themselves superior and have more rights than other living beings? Is it because human beings developed cognitive thinking, therefore, their existence and need prelude from other living creatures? Who bestowed these rights on them? Isn't our numbers growing, hitting over eight billion, and we are the main reason for harming the planet for our endless greed? We are on the verge of dooming this planet and all other creatures for no fault of theirs.

  • Mitha, Udupi

    Sat, Nov 26 2022

    Humans are the most dreadful and dangerous creatures they destroy nature, animals and finally they will destroy themselves,

  • Dr. Henry Mascarenhas, Greenville, NC, USA

    Fri, Nov 25 2022

    Thank you for bringing this issue to the forefront. Unfortunately we have a clash of culture without easy solutions. Monkey menace is equally bad. The fittest will survive, time will tell!


    Fri, Nov 25 2022

    Unfortunately my pet Dog , 9 years old champu passed away yesterday afternoon...

  • Kaustav Dass, Thane

    Fri, Nov 25 2022

    This is a half baked piece without a workable solution, the author highlights attacks on human beings but fails to highlight the rising cases of animal cruelty, there have been instances where stray dogs have been beaten to such an extent that they develop anxiety and sometimes this leads to intimidating reactions for other humans, many strays are left to fend for themselves from garbage which makes them more aggressive and lastly are there enough dog shelters which can accommodate the strays, the only solution is to encourage more people to take care of strays by feeding and neutering/vaccinating them and the Municipal Corporations to sterilize the stray dogs, expecting everyone to adopt the strays is too much as ownership of a dog means having the necessary time and resources but if the stray dogs can be taken care of by feeding and neutering without taking them home then this should be encouraged

  • John Monteiro, Bondel, Mangaluru

    Thu, Nov 24 2022

    The best and comprehensive articles I have read on the subject. Everything is agreed. But, who is to bell the dog?

  • Deshbhakt, Mangalore

    Thu, Nov 24 2022

    Very detailed and thought provoking article. Do you believe that stray canine also are a part of the food chain ? We realise if our own pet disappears but do we care if a stray is less on the street ? Yes. Cheetah, leopard or other big cats keep the planet clear of canine population but we chase or cage them away. We humans are the actual problem, not any other species of the world.

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