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India’s Out-of-Control Dog Problem

stra-dogs-india-080712Tens of millions of free-roaming dogs … millions of dog bites every year … 20,000 people dying from rabies each year (99 percent of them from dog bites) … India’s stray dog problem is off the charts, according to a report in The New York Times: [readon]

Victims of the surprise attacks limp into one of [New Delhi’s] biggest public hospitals. Among the hundreds on a recent day were children cornered in their homes, students ambushed on their way to class and old men ambling back from work.

… Packs of strays lurk in public parks, guard alleyways and street corners and howl nightly in neighborhoods and villages. Joggers carry bamboo rods to beat them away, and bicyclists fill their pockets with stones to throw at chasers. Walking a pet dog here can be akin to swimming with sharks.

A 2001 law prohibits the killing of dogs, and the number of strays has only ballooned since then. Spay/neuter efforts are few and far between. (In Mumbai, plans are in motion to conduct a census using squirt guns to mark dogs who have been counted.)

When trap-neuter-return plans have been instituted, they’re working. Animal protection groups point to Jaipur, where the dog population has dropped dramatically. Proper disposal of garbage makes a difference, too. But catching and neutering millions of dogs is not easy. Humane organization are looking to the time when a effective contraceptive vaccine becomes available.

Meanwhile, horror stories abound: children mauled, pet dogs grabbed as they’re being walked, even when on a leash.

You can read the whole article here.