Dogs are one of the most wonderful creatures that have crawled with us since humanity. Old texts like the Mahabharata have shown how dogs have guided the Pandavas on the way to heaven. In the Egyptian mythology, dogs have also taken the shape of crowns that the kings adorned. In Gangtok and many of the Metros across India, people have started adopting them. They could be anywhere between a stray puppy to an expensive canine breed. We can say that in many homes, dogs have become an integral part of the families. In Gurgaon, very recently a dog restaurant and salon has also been opened for pampering them.
Gangtok is no way behind. Early mornings and evenings we see a lot of people with their dogs out for the morning or evening stroll. It is also a time when dogs come out of their cooped up cramped houses to take a breath of fresh air and complete their stroll and their daily routine of pooping. Gangtok is also a beautiful litter and open defecation free zone. You normally do not see any litter caused by humans but when it comes to dogs , the regulations become a bit skewed.
Of Stray Dogs
We have also seen a growth of stray dogs and many a times we are in extreme danger when we walk back home at night. The dumb looking Kaley and Setey of the locality presents a very ominous look. They bark at you and present their most vicious form. It is quite a dangerous experience when we encounter them. Many a times these dogs are in packs and that becomes even more threatening. We quietly walk pass them. Recently an elderly woman was mauled in one of the villages of Sikkim . It could also be children who return from their tuitions and are afraid to walk at night due to the fear of these stray dogs. Darjeeling, a couple of years back was witness to one of the most gory death of person who was mauled by a pack of dogs in the Dhobitala area. On my recent visit to Darjeeling , as I was walking back to my hotel room via Chowrasta , an array of angry dogs made it difficult to walk. The citizens there have been complaining about this menace for quite some time now.
The Adopted Dogs
Another very disturbing fact is the number of unknown yet expensive breeds of Dogs that are being adopted by dog lovers. Many of these dogs do not have open spaces in the town where they can a do a bit of physical activity which makes them extremely disturbed mentally staying cooped up in the pigeon hole buildings of this cramped town. Some of these dogs are even potential threats to humans and many of these breeds are banned for domestic adoption in cities across the world. Yet we tend to adopt them for our own satisfaction and fun rather than thinking about the rights of these dogs which do not have open spaces to play around. Gangtok is not as open as what it was a couple of years back.
Of Dog Poops
One of my friends who had come as a tourist , was very happy to see the walkways and pedestrian friendly nature of the town. He complemented the authorities of having pavements and foot over bridges for the residents who wanted to walk. But then, nowadays these pathways are littered with dog poops. I have been campaigning in social media regarding these dog poops which you often trample unknowingly and walk back home with the faecal material attached to our shoes. Let us not forget that be it human or animals , faeces is faeces and has to be treated in the same manner. So if we call our town as an Open Defecation Free zone then the same must apply for dogs too.
Talking about animal behaviour , many of the dog lovers have trolled me for talking against this menace and have blamed the stray dogs for the same , but at hindsight and learning animal behaviour , it is a common practice for all animals to look for non-concrete spaces for their pooping behaviour. Hence in most of the cases the stray dogs will look for such spaces . It is often a menace created by the dog adopters who do not carry the litter can with them when they go out for a stroll.
Some of suggestions
- The Municipal and Animal Husbandry authorities must come out with a list of adoptable dogs within the towns . The rules however could be different for farms and villages
- All dog adopters who take their dogs out for a stroll should carry a poop litter can along with them so that whatever left behind by the dogs could be scooped.
- Make a dog shelter for stray dogs and control the growth of this number
- No dog adopter should be allowed to let their dogs out without proper straps ( even if the dog is friendly)
- Start a campaign and have signage of #ScoopThePoop and penalty for dog adopters who make their dogs litter across the town
Gangtok is a beautiful town. Let us preserve the beauty of this town as much as we can. Let us be proud of staying in this beautiful city. It is always best when the residents of the town become enlightened and maintain the litter free atmosphere of this beautiful city.
The writer is a regular columnist and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org )
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