Dr. Stanzin Thakchot, Veterinary Assistant Surgeon, Leh: Society for Prevention of Cruelty against Animals (SPCA) is a worldwide organization that has branches all across the country. In Leh, it is recently formed.
The members of the society run day to day activities through the teams including media team, adoption of stray animals’ team, education/awareness team and fundraising team. It has set up its own yearly target with monthly meetings to review day to day activities and targets.
Before SPCA, animal husbandry played an important role in the welfare of stray animals like dogs, bulls, donkeys, and cows. The department started the project of Animal Birth Control programme with the help of Municipal Committee Leh, Live to Rescue and Vets beyond Borders, Australia. Moreover, having SPCA in Leh would definitely boost the existing animal welfare activities and bring a wind of change in the community.
Stray dogs menace has been discussed a lot and animal husbandry department has taken an active part in checking the exploding population of dogs. One of the most important effects of the sterilization is reducing the number of puppies and overpopulating dogs. We catch, sterilize and release them in the same area as they have got a territorial behavior.
More than 3,500 dogs were sterilized in the last five years but the situation is grave if we go to the villages near army camps. Dogs produce 4-6 pups twice in a year with an average life span of 12 years. Army never took the issue as perilously as we find 90% of the dog in villages close to army camps. Reason being dogs surviving in the army camp is because they are feed with leftover foods. In contrast, they should sterilize and feed them.
The problem of stray dog menace mostly comes up during the winter due to the scarcity of food. Dog bite cases are mainly witnessed in this season and are a concern since it is becoming a threat to human life.
There is a need for everyone to treat the problem as a community problem rather than playing blame games. Also, there is a need for more compassion towards the voiceless poor creatures.
• There is no as such rapid or instant solution but the most widely adopted solution is the Animal Birth Control programme but it takes times.
• The ferocious street dogs can be shifted to shelter. "Adopt and don't shop" is a campaign slogan to promote adopting pets from shelters, rather than buying them from pet stores.
• One dog one household should be the policy if we want to see a visible change on the ground.
• People should inform the dog catchers or team if they see any kind of female animals giving birth in the streets. We will sterilize and release them in the same street.
Rigzin Dorjey, Project Coordinator, Live to Rescue: Live to Rescue is a non-profit organization which was established in July 2014 with an initial idea to take care of the dogs that are injured, diseased and to control the menace in town. But presently along with the dogs, we are also taking care of other animals that are injured and sick. The animals are treated at the animal clinic in Changspa under the supervision of veterinary.
The animals are taken care well with food, shelter, and hygiene. In summers, we give them bath to keep away from communicable disease but unfortunately, it cannot be done in the winter.
Sterilization is also done to reduce the number of stray dogs in Leh. The animals are kept under doctor prescription and advice. Also, we come across many visitors who ask to keep their pets in the centre during winters as they go away. Such cases are not considered until and unless the pets are sick or injured. Many are very inhumane, they leave their pets on the riverbank and we end up providing shelter.
Ironically, many people complain against dog attacks but when we catch those dogs and keep them in the centre, they never tend to attack anybody. I think it is all about starvation and to prevent such incident we all should be generous enough to give them food.
Society for Prevention of Cruelty against Animals works for the welfare of animals and plays a significant role in town as we witness a number of animals being left out under hit and run cases which are usually ignored. The society will monitor and punish such people as per animal law. We have also witnessed drivers who bring injured animal to the clinic which is worth appreciating.
24/7-helpline number of Live to Rescue is 9622252485. Feel free to call in need of help in case of injured animals and vet ambulance.
• Adoption is the best solution to prevent stray dogs menace in town. We have a living example of Thiksey AmaTsogpa who took the initiative and people of Sku Markha for adopting dogs.
• Providing shelter during harsh winter to homeless and foodless animals.
• Donating food is another alternative to give them better food rather than eating trashes in the landfill and other areas.
Dr. Shakil Ahmed, Livestock Development Officer, Chuchot: Setting up of SPCA in town is extremely significant and vital need for animal welfare services. It is a voluntary body supported by the district government, which plays a major role in rescuing sick abandoned animals to home and rehabilitate.
During a meeting which was held in November, we have passed a resolution and decided to put forward some works that can be achieved within a year. I think the most important role is to raise awareness among the public through social media, airing radio programs and hosting TV talk shows and also educating students in various schools in the summer as how to be animal lovers and animal companion. Equally, distributing pamphlets and also people need to educate regarding SPCA Acts and provisions.
The future prospect of SPCA is to create awareness. Public awareness is important, we believe in changing humans into animal lovers and work towards their welfare. Being a human being, we should be compassionate about all sentient beings as stray animals and dogs are also living being. It is our responsibilities and duty.
• Sterilization is important as it makes an animal docile due to hormonal changes.
• Adoption of dogs from shelter homes
• NGO can play a critical role in treating animals and preventing stray animals
• Imparting knowledge about animal welfare and SPCA acts or provisions is extremely crucial in solving the issue of the menace of stray dogs in town.