The Kerala government has issued an order for the culling of “dangerous” stray dogs by means of “special medicine”. The order comes in light of the demise of an elderly woman who was attacked by a pack of stray dogs and succumbed to injuries. While the speed with which the government acted on this could have been a result of the public outrage in the state, the decision itself is utterly laughable, if not horrifying.
In the world of all-that-is-arbitrary, this order’s emphasis on “dangerous stray dogs” is probably at the very top of the list. It wouldn’t take much to deem a stray dog “dangerous”, allowing the civic authorities to kill innocent stray animals. Kerala has a history of not being kind to its homeless canine population as it is and it just seems like this incident is being used as a pathetic excuse to commit what is not just morally wrong, but also legally not permitted. While it is illegal to kill stray dogs, now with this order Kerala has ensured that any dog can labelled dangerous and put down.
It is appalling, if not just down right disgusting that an attack of this magnitude gets the government to go on a killing spree of a helpless species, but when men torture and kill stray dogs for fun and entertainment, there’s not much the law can do in that regard. The two medical students from Chennai who threw a helpless dog off a roof (for fun!) were quickly arrested, but were out on bail within hours. The state of that case hangs in limbo at the moment. The only concrete action taken against the two students was suspension from the medical college they were studying at, but that is hardly the same as putting them down as violent menaces to society. In another instance, a man was arrested for stabbing three dogs outside a metro station. There was no law introduced to put down depressed engineering students who had just been rejected by their girlfriends as they might be a menace to the dog population.
The double standard and the sheer laziness of the Kerala government is evident as bright as day. Instead of educating the people on how to treat stray dogs, the government just deems it easier to kill them off. Instead of trying to clean up their own streets of garbage which attracts strays, they feel its easier to just kill them off. Instead of implementing an adoption program or even a sterilization drive, the Kerala Government deems it easier to just kill them off. Somewhere, the need to appease the violence within the people is more important that to embrace what it really means to be human; to be compassionate.
When I moved into my new home, our lane had eight stray dogs, who were extremely territorial. The first few days, they growled and snarled at me and my then 10-year-old sister as we would try to walk into our homes. Instead of chasing them away or attacking them with rocks, we patiently tried to form a bond with these furry creatures. We left out food and water for them and soon enough, the extremely territorial dogs had become the guardian pack for my sister. To this day, those dogs who still live follow me from my car to the house, as if to ensure my safety. Even when we got a pet, these dogs welcomed him as a friend and never snarled at him.
Mine is not an isolated story. There are thousands of animal lovers who see these unfortunate canines on the street and instead of taking their aggression at face value, try to appease it with love and patience. Dear Kerala government, before issuing such harsh mandates, why don’t you put yourself in the shoes of the accused? Would you like to be culled if you showed any signs of violence? Would you like it if there was a rule that IF a politician showed signs of corruption, he should be removed from office? Your law isn’t the only things that’s stupid.