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Sunday, August 23, 2009

Dog-Tax : A New Tax for keeping more than two pet dogs in Chandigarh

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Long, long ago in the 18th century a graduate of the Trinity college of Dublin, the son of an Iris Clergyman, Oliver Goldsmith had written “An Elegy on the Death of a Mad Dog”. Men like the one of Islington as in the poem, are not found these days though more varieties of dogs and not just “mongrel, puppy, whelp, and curs of low degree”, are found on roads, streets, nooks and corners.

Stray Dogs : Thinking over the emerging problems

Out of men who are found these days, very few are here to establish friendship with a stray dog, but since the hereditary trait of love with dogs that developed soon after the emergence of human civilization have proved the laws of genetics, we have numerous lovers of dogs here these days, though very few to love the “curs” of low degree. People are buying exotic varieties of dogs, keeping and rearing them as loving pets, and leaving the older varieties on roads whenever they purchase a new and cuter sample of the foreign origin. On the other hand on roads and streets, the population of strays is attesting the Malthusian theory of population, biting everyone who dares to disturb, being crushed under the rushing heavy vehicles, and teaching traffic rules to youngsters speeding high on bikes and overtaking from left, middle, right, and all possible sides. Bored on reading these lines? Read the report.

Growing population of dogs in urban areas has created problems in many Indian cities like Chandigarh and Ranchi (for the case of Chandigarh see the report in The Hindu dated 23rd Aug.2009, and for the case of Ranchi see the report in Dainic Jagaran- Hindi of the same date). Ranchi is rather more special as dogs in urban areas and wolfs in the rural areas are biting people causing rabies. The administration has declared that it has enough number of rabies injections in store. But the problem of increasing population of stray dogs on roads has to be managed by hook or by crook.

Accidents on roads, spreading land pollution due to animal waste, and rising cases of rabies in hospitals are some major problems created due to rising population of stray dogs, and people’s attitude of purchasing foreign varieties of dogs as pets and releasing the older ones on roads, and not adopting stray dogs (though they remain naturally more immune) as they have the same conventional noses, mouths, tails, body figure, barking styles etc. all the typical characters of Indian dogs … Indian, ugh!

In view of controlling the problems created by rising population of dogs various municipal corporations have already started programmes for the registration of pet dogs. Now that dog lovers are going on increasing the number of pet dogs of different varieties following setting up of various dog breeding centers in different cities and multiplying the number of stray dogs on roads and streets, management of dog population has stood in the shape of a big problem before municipal corporations.

As per the reports, Chandigarh administration has ordered the dog owners to stop breeding of their pets and not to keep more than two dogs at a time. If some one adopts a stray dog, it is good in view of managing dog population and rehabilitating the stray dogs, but if he or she buys a dog from some breeding center he will have to pay a Dog-Tax of rupees 1000/- year. Every dog owner has been ordered by the administration to carry a big stick and a plastic bag while walking their pets to keep streets clear of animal waste.

Various animal welfare organizations have already been conducting population control programmes for dogs in different cities in India under funding programmes of the Animal Welfare Board of India. Shelter Houses for animals including dogs have already been constructed in different cities. These organizations and the Animal Welfare Board have been requesting people to adopt the homeless dogs instead of buying dogs from dog breeding centers. While Municipal Corporations try to bring down the population of dogs in open urban areas and conduct a number of programmes to manage the population of stray animals on roads and streets, dog breeders go on increasing the number of hybrid dogs of foreign varieties, and dog owners go on replacing dogs putting old dogs on roads. It is important to note that the so called dog lovers go on increasing the number of dogs with them as symbol of high position without any care of surrounding that is polluted by the animal waste when these animals are carried out for walking.

In Ranchi the capital city of Jharkhand, cases of dog- bite are rising in different areas as per the reports in the local print media. About 34 persons per day are being bitten on an average by stray dogs in different localities. About 492 persons have been recorded to be bitten by stray dogs within a period of one month only. However the administration is bold and states that it has already preserved sufficient number of anti-rabies injections to mange the cases of dog bites. The government is already on its way to controlling the population of stray dogs in the city.

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