Reflective collars save lives of dogs, 2-wheeler riders

Certified paravet Touseef Ahmed and a stray dog with the reflective collar.

Reflective collars save lives of dogs, two-wheeler riders

Mangaluru: Advocates of Animal Rights in cities across the country are taking a cue from Mangaluru’s ‘Reflective Collar’ model to keep both the riders and the stray dogs out of harm’s way.

Touseef Ahmed, a certified paravet who specialises in on-site care, rescue and rehabilitation of birds, animals and reptiles, said, “It started off as a simple measure to help riders notice dogs on the streets of Mangaluru. Today, reflective collar for stray dogs has gained importance as a simple and effective means to save lives of many dogs and two-wheeler riders”.

Ahmed, an MBA graduate,  has successfully tagged more than 500 stray dogs in the city to prevent road accidents. “This initiative has received an immensely positive response and community involvement. Animal Rights activists from across various cities of India are willing to take the initiative forward in their respective places,” he said.

Jeev Welfare Society (JWS), based in Jalandhar, Punjab, recently took the initiative of collaring the dogs in its areas of operation. They have expanded their operation to collar the dogs on the highways where many accidents take place due to low visibility of the animals. JWS founder Harpeet Bali hopes that this initiative will help in preventing deaths of both the animals as well as the humans.

Closer home, Madhwaraj Animal Care Trust (MACT), Udupi, has started collaring over 100 dogs. Ahmed recollected that he has received requests for the reflective collars from individuals in Bengaluru, Kolkota, Indore, Chandigarh and Kodaikanal. He said he was surprised to receive a call from an individual from Andaman.  “Social media has helped in passing the message of collars,” he said.  

Reflective Collar for dogs was first launched by the city-based Animal Care Trust (ACT) in 2016, Ahmed, who has dedicated his time in attending distress calls of injured snakes, birds, abandoned pets and other animals, said.

“Initiallly, the initiative did not get public attention and very few dogs were tagged. I re-introduced the initiative a few years ago and I was overwhelmed by the kind of response I got from people,” he added.

“The initiative started off as a piece of attraction on the dogs and make them look cute. Later, people realised the importance of the belts when we explained to them about its benefits - both for the riders and animals. Many bike riders, who have had the first-hand experience of being involved in accidents while trying to avoid dogs, got in touch with me to get the collars, each priced for Rs 40,” he said.

Ahmed shared the story of an elderly man who lost his son to a similar accident when a dog crossed the road. The elderly man, on hearing about Ahmed’s initiative, approached him with a request for around 20 such collars. “He wanted to tag them on dogs in his neighborhood so that riders will be aware of the dogs. The Reflective Collars can be seen from a distance of 50 metres,” Ahmed explained.                                                                                                                                                                      - Madappa P S

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