A new relationship with animals, nature and each other.

Where Ear Studs Mean “I’m Fixed”

A new program for stray dogs in Kashmir

A typical Bakharwal puppy in Kashmir

Dogs on the streets of Srinagar, Kashmir are sporting ear studs.

It’s not a new fashion in jewelry; it’s a new fashion in spay/neuter. The growing number of strays – and the dog bites that go along with this – has prompted the state government of Kashmir to lead an ambitious dog-sterilizing program. And the ear studs are how the dogs let people know, “I’ve been fixed.”

“Around 100 dogs a day will be sterilized in the first phase. We will raise the target to 200 a day after a few weeks,” said Asgar Hassan Samoon, commissioner of Srinagar division.

Dog bites are common in the Kashmir Valley. “We receive more than 300 cases a month, sometimes more than 20 a day,” said Dr. Shahnaz of the Shri Maharaja Hari Singh Hospital in Srinagar. “Most victims are children.”

“Dog catchers will be paid for every male they bring in. The dogs will be sterilized, marked with studs and released back in their own territory,” said Samoon.

The dog-catchers will be watched and guided by vets to ensure good treatment of the dogs they catch. Branches of the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals will be set up in each district to deal with any reports of ill-treatment.