Leh town has persistently faced the problem of stray dogs on its streets since a long time. The municipal committee of Leh has attempted to eliminate this problem in the past by poisoning the dogs, but it was an unsuccessful campaign. The bad news for the Committee and the citizens of Leh is that this problem is growing with the lapse of each year.
These stray dogs do not only have the potential of spreading rabies epidemic but are also creating health hazards by urinating and passing stool all over the town. They are a constant source of nuisance to the towns-people because of their barking at night, and they sometimes attack them and the tourists in packs, especially during the night time.
The economy of Leh is much dependent on tourism. If we do not soon do something about this problem, it will have a negative impact on the tourism industry.
The solution to this problem is to capture all stray dogs and, if not adopted within a month, to be euthanized, as was done in Romania recently after a child was killed by stray dogs there.
I realise that euthanasia can be a sensitive issue in India. It might raise an even bigger uproar in a very religious and spiritual Leh. But it is high time that this problem was solved. The people against euthanasia should come forward to adopt these dogs. They should get them registered with the municipality and also get them vaccinated against rabies. This norm should be made compulsory for all pet dogs in Leh.
At the present moment it appears impossible for the municipality to neuter all the stray dogs in Leh. This process can be undertaken by the adopters of these dogs, and gradually Leh will become free of this problem.
I am not against dogs. I myself have a pet dog at my house in Leh town. What I am against is the threat and negative impression this problem creates for our society.
Two years ago I had gone to Australia to meet my aunt and her family. One of the most memorable part of that visit has been the facilities provided by the local authorities there, at parks and other places for the citizens to dispose of the excrement of their pets. The people there were provided with thin polythene gloves to pick the excrements and put them in bins marked with a picture of a dog. Anyone caught leaving the excrements on the ground is punishable with a fine. I never saw any animal excrement left on the ground there in my three months stay. There is no reason why we also cannot have the facilities, rules and habits like Australians.Of course there was no question of seeing a stray dog there.