The speed, at which the dog population is growing in Kashmir, may soon make it outnumber the local human population. It is estimated that the number of these animals has already crossed two hundred thousand. Many theories are being advanced for this unprecedented increase in the population of these canines in Kashmir and especially, the city of Srinagar.
Every other day there is an article in the local dailies about this menace. Hundreds have been bitten by these stray animals that have now become extremely bold and aggressive and move in flocks of twenty or more at a time. There have been many cases of rabies. Some columnists have stated that the reason for increase has been the corresponding increase in human population. Srinagar used to be a city of a hundred thousand people.
Now, it is a buzzing metro of over million and a half people. Accordingly, the dogs which numbered few thousand have grown to over a couple of hundred thousand. It has also been said that the change in life style is responsible for such a mushroom growth of canines. Lavish marriages resulting in huge amounts of non-vegetarian food waste has also been held responsible for increase in the population of these once useful scavengers of the society. Once welcome natural scavengers have become a deadly menace for the society. In earlier times, the municipal authorities used to ensure culling of their excessive population.
However, due to the intervention of some "Animal Lover's Society", the authorities are unable to curtail the growing menace. These so called "Animal Lovers" are the crazy followers of a deranged and frustrated lady animal lover! One fails to understand why these people have love of dogs only? There are many other animals which are culled if these pose a threat to humans.
During last couple of decades, the wild life has menacingly grown in the forests of Kashmir. Black bears and sometimes even leopards are posing grave threat to human life. In contrast to the treatment given to the dogs in the residential areas, the wild animals are declared vermin and people are allowed to shoot these. In recent times, due to the outbreak of bird flue millions of chickens have been culled. However, no one raises the question of cruelty to animals in regard to these actions of killing of birds or even wild animals.
A number of other suggestions have been advanced to limit the population of dogs. Sometime back a person had offered to act as a pied piper to these stray dogs and he had declared that against a payment of about rupees thirty crores, he would rid Kashmir of this menace. The news story carried on for sometime and then suddenly disappeared.
The ultimate solution presented was the sterilization of the dog population. It was proposed to set up dog ponds where these canines would be sterilised. During the course of a public interest litigation, one of the judges posed a question whether the dogs would stop biting humans after sterilisation? It is reported that the municipal authorities had resorted to earlier method of limiting the dog population but they were stopped by the police.
In fact, the provincial administrative head had declared that the rabid dogs would be shot at sight but had to quietly forget his bold pronouncement due to some unexplained reasons. Probably, he had forgotten that in Kashmir one can shoot a human being without any questions being asked but one cannot shoot a dog!
Recently, the municipal authorise have put up a comprehensive proposal amounting to over rupees one thousand crores to take care of this menace. However, there is no time limit given for ending the menace. It may take quite sometime before the dog population is completely sterilised.
There cannot be anything worse to show the lopsided state planning. Government is unable to provide minimum healthcare to Kashmir's human population. However, it may spend a thousand crores to save the menacing dog population! Apart from lopsided planning, it is also rumoured that the entire deliberately created menace revolves round this massive expenditure involved in curbing the problem.
Some vested interests are hoping for a massive cut from this huge project! In fact, these people are supposed to be the real culprits in allowing uncontrolled growth of this menace. There has been a suggestion to export these dogs to Philippines where these are supposed to be a delicacy! Well, whatever is behind this new threat to the already harassed population of Kashmir, there is urgent need to take it seriously before the local population is outnumbered?
The recent ultimatum given by the residents of Batamaloo may in the end turn out to be the only solution where the local population regardless of legal or other consequences takes law into their hands to curb the menace by any means available to them! Unfortunately, all the concerned authorities seem to have been benumbed and no concrete action is forthcoming. Unless something is done urgently to curb the menace, Kashmir may soon turn into, "Dog's Own Country!"