In the wake of rapidly increasing stray dog nuisance in Kerala, the state government hastily announced to cull ‘violent dogs’, setting off a huge uproar among animal lovers galore, earlier in August.
Pressures have been mounting upon the government, whilst instances of the menace intensified in the state. On Wednesday, the Supreme Court while accepting compassion towards the animal also declared firmly that these strays shouldn’t be an annoyance to the public.
With the stray dog population steeply snowballing, dog bites aren’t the only concern to be looked closely at. These canines are also the cause of numerous hit and runs, an on-going nightmare to motorists. Tackling this problem with a novel initiative is Chennai based animal welfare NGO, People for Cattle in India (PFCI), which has introduced glowing, reflective collars for strays, in an aim to prevent road mishaps.
“Low-visibility on roads is one of the pivotal reasons for the motorists to get into accidents. Wandering stray dogs aren’t doing these drivers any help,” explains Arun Prasanna, founder of the project.
PFCI which started out as an animal rescue service, used to get abundant calls regarding animal accidents in the city. Disturbed by the alarming number, the organisation first approached local truck drivers and motorists, which triggered Arun to ideate magic collars.
Made of reflective cloth with orange nylon, the collars are claimed to be visible at a distance of 1000 feet in the dark, giving the motorist enough time to swerve without any setbacks. Menially priced at Rs 65 a piece, these magic collars are not just restricted to canines. The NGO is looking at fitting these glowing Velcro collars to cattle too.
Inspired by a similar initiative in Pune (motopaws), PFCI has now covered over 2,000 dogs in the city and 4,000 in other parts of the country. They are further looking at a target of 10,000 dogs just for Chennai, by the end of the year.
“Stray dogs play a very important role in the society. To call them a menace is anything but appropriate,” he retorts to the SC announcement. “Culling programs are often futile and new dogs will replace the space in no time,” he continues.
“When the Government can tackle various problems like garbage, rodents, burglars and many others, why can’t they find an amicable solution to handle stray dogs,” he declares.