Adopt them, give a bowl of food
Chamatkar is one of those lucky dogs who got saved from an accident and adopted as a pet.
“When I saw a puppy run over by a car near my house I immediately took her to hospital. When the doctor saved her, he said it is a chamatkar (magic) that she is alive,” says fashion designer Sanjana Jon, who adopted that dog some time ago.
Jon has four street dogs at her house and 20-25 dogs in her locality, who she takes care of. “They all came to me in different ways.
Recently, I have shifted to a new place and I came across some 20 puppies outside my house. I saw one puppy getting bullied by others and when I observed for a while, I realised that she is deaf and dumb. So I took her in,” she says.
One of her dogs was poisoned while another was wounded when she found them. “It hurts to see people ill-treating dogs. Even if you do not bring them inside, you can always give them one bowl of food every day. And if it does not hurt your pocket too much, get them vaccinated as they cannot talk for themselves but need love.”
Another Delhi resident, who does not wished to be named, has lived near Jawaharlal Nehru University for years. She wakes up at 5.30 am to feed 50-odd dogs on JNU campus every day.
“It is not easy to do this as people do not like me, and consider me an outsider when I go there every day. But I feed them irrespective of all the opposition. We need to change mindsets and spread awareness about how citizens can take a step forward to help these dogs lead better lives,” she says.
People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has done several public education events with innovative visuals to raise awareness in Delhi about the importance of adopting Indian dogs.
“These kinds of activities draw people’s attention to the issue in a fun way. We have also released many print public service announcements starring notable people like Imran Khan, Kalki Koechlin, Trisha Krishna, Gulshan Grover, Dino Morea, just to name a few, to promote the adoption of Indian dogs,” says PETA India’s Sachin Bangera.
He explains that pedigree dogs sold in pet shops are deprived of proper veterinary care, adequate food, exercise, love and socialisation. “Common health ailments in purebred dogs include breathing problems, cancer, heart disease, bleeding disorders, skeletal malformation and eye problems. In contrast, Indian community dogs are healthier and more robust than their purebred cousins,” he adds.
Others point out that millions of dogs and cats suffer on the streets every year or languish in severely crowded animal shelters because there are not enough homes for them.
“We urge everyone to sterilise animals on the streets, and never buy but adopt a homeless animal. If ten people in a society adopt just one dog on the street he will not be a ‘menace’,” says Saurabh Gupta of People For Animals (PFA).
He says PFA gets several complaints from dog lovers who are being threatened for feeding and keeping dogs in their localities. “We should not kill dogs, and to control the overpopulation of dogs we need to promote sterilisation. People just need to call animal shelters, which will sterilise and bring the dogs back. Demanding more animals shelters is not the answer.”