WRITTEN BY- A RESPONSIBLE AND COMPASSIONATE CITIZEN.
I know most of you are wondering why is this a big deal, well as you read it would become clear to you why I took the time and effort to write the report about our meeting with the Mayor that took place on 4th June ’13.
There were initially rumors that did their rounds in animal welfare workers circle (well we are more of us than u can imagine) that the mayor has proposed to build numerous shelters around the city to prison the street dogs. Since there was no concrete evidence to prove so, we let it slide. But then came the shocker; a newspaper article stating that this proposal is indeed true. Various organizations and animal welfare workers around the city and in fact even the country started to write to the mayor suggesting that this is not the permanent solution to what the mayor called as “getting rid” of the street dogs.
We took it upon ourselves as individuals (note that we might belong to different organizations but we work for one cause) to write to him and finally he agreed to meet us. We went as an entourage of ten hoping we could enlighten the Mayor about the issues with setting up such a shelter.
He seemed as a level headed man. He said to us “please state your issue” and we were glad he was ready listen. All of us explained to him that we take care of numerous dogs on our streets and not very comfortable with the idea of “imprisoning” them in a shelter. He listened to us in for a little while and then he said to us- “you have told me your issues now let me tell me mine”.
And in few seconds his objectives become transparent to all of us. He is not the level headed man we thought he was he was a perfect description of what we would term as an “Indian Politician”.
He told us that his public has the fear of even walking in areas where there were dogs and that he has been receiving numerous complaints on daily basis as to how the street dogs have become a nuisance to “his city”. He went as far to state and I quote "People don't like looking at dog's faces on the street. Therefore, I will impound them".
We requested him to share his ideas and plans for the shelter and trust me I don’t know if I should laugh or cry as I even write this down-
· Shelters to house all the quarter of a million street dogs in the city.
· The shelter would be built up to the standards and we have “professionals” designing the spaces for us.
· The dogs shall be given good and healthy food twice a day.
· The shelter will be cleaned on regular basis
· The dogs will be given out for adoption. He proudly announced that I will make sure people would take Indian dogs for adoption.
· When a puppy is born in the shelter it would immediately be taken away from the mother and given for adoption.
· We will slowly start the ABC(Animal Birth Control) program once the catching of the dogs from the entire city is successfully done.
So these were thoughts that were going through our head when he was stating these ridiculous.
· How on earth are you going to be able to house all the city street dogs in shelters?
· Yah sure we all know how all the buildings done by our government are done up to standards. When such standards are not followed for buildings where people are housed in or work in, you expect us to believe that you would do the shelters up to the standards for those poor speechless soles whose safety and well being you are least bothered about.
· Healthy food and clean shelter? Com’on give us a break. Have you been to a government shelter facility? Their food is far from healthy, in fact I would be surprised if they are even being fed. And clean? I see these dogs sitting in inches of unclean dog faeces.
· Are you telling me you will make sure every dog there gets adopted? We organize number of adoption drives a year and none of us are able to reach cross the mark of over 100 Indian pups a month. How are you even planning of getting quarter of million ‘Adult’ Indian dogs adopted?
· Don’t you know how the nature works? How can you separate the pups immediately from the mother after birth and give it out for adoption and expect the pup to survive?
· Yeah sure, take your time in starting the ABC program. By the time you start, the dogs in the shelter would have already mated and over half of the bitches would be pregnant.
And so the conversation continued for little longer where we explained to him that the only solution to the street dog issue he claims the public is facing is the ABC procedure and he shocked us with one statement that I quote- " I don’t care about ABC. Dogs live for 7 yrs average and i don’t want them alive on my streets. I want a quick fix to the issue, even if it means that in the long run, the dogs double or even triple I want something reasonable to show in my term here. The uneducated and the unruly public who voted for me are demanding it and I will give them what they want because for me their votes is what matter.” It just took us a while to come back to our sense after we heard that very statement from him, it’s sad as to how he perceives the public the sole reason he is sitting in that seat and also to see how he is ready to do play with the lives of those speechless animals just because he wants to get more votes next term.
And he went on to make to make a few more ridiculous statements and remarks:
· “People are paranoid about dogs now, they don’t want to look at any dog even if it is a friendly one.
· “Dog lovers are a minority and majority of the people want the dogs removed. I know about the history of minority being hurt in the past, but those were people and these are dogs. Dogs cannot talk and bad mouth me but people will so I side with the people”
· “If people complain about crows I will do the same with crows”
· School kids are not going to school and women don’t go out of their homes because they fear the dogs on their street
So there you go all that he had to say was he had made up his mind about the shelter but he was ready to listen to us if we had any other solution to getting rid of dogs from the streets.
I explained to him calmly as to how I have visited various shelters around the world where its turned out to be a tough challenge for them to house less than 500 injured animals, therefore it came as a shock to us when he claimed he can accommodate quarter of a million dogs of whom many would be sick, disabled and elderly dogs who would require special care and treatment. He told me that he doesn't care about all of those all he wants is to just get “Rid” of the dogs from the streets. We all know what he means when he says getting “Rid” of the dogs he is going to cramp these poor souls into tiny cells and when he runs out of space they would quietly and confidentially start euthanize these dogs. We have seen these practices in various shelters around the world. And when we told him that he said and I quote “I don’t care about the facts and data, you bring me a solution that doesn't involve dogs on the streets”
Finally, after realizing that nothing good is to come out of trying to make a man understand the facts, when he not ready to listen, we requested him to give us time to come up with a solution for this issue. He looked at us smiled and said," you have a week time or else am going ahead with my plans". So, there it is the hard truth, We have just 7 days to come up with a solution to save these speechless creatures from a life of imprisonment and pure torture.