I want to help the strays around my house, how do I start?
If you want to get involved with strays you must be aware that once you begin to care for them, they will reciprocate the love tenfolds. That also means that when you see them the next time, they will recognise you and may expect your attention every time you see them. However if you do not feed them regularly, they do not mind, for they crave kindness and love more.
To begin to care for the strays around your house:
- Take into account how many strays there are.
- Decide if you want to feed them, and make a plan on how to accomplish that.
- Think about whether they need to be neutered and vaccinated and how you can get that done.
- Talk about how and why you want to get involved, either with family and friends, or with likeminded people at a social networking site/group. This will help you understand how you can care for them well.
Helping a stray is a blessing, and it is an emotional and fulfilling relationship that you will never regret.
What shall I feed the strays? I can’t afford expensive dog food packets.
There are three things you can do to begin with, which are less expensive and enough to care for strays:
- Keep a bowl of water outside so they have water to drink at all times. Like humans, dogs need more water than food.
- Carry some biscuits with you, and as and when you come across a stray, feed them.
- You may also give them leftovers from the meals at home, whenever you get the chance. Strays have high resilience when it comes to food because of the harsh conditions they live in. Even small amounts occasionally goes a long way for them.
- Alternatively you can ask your neighbours to put leftovers in paper bags and hand them to you so that you have more food to feed them.
My neighbours are complaining about me feeding the dogs. What are my rights?
Under human rights laws you have the right to feed any animal. Nobody can take any legal action against you because you feed a stray dog.
There is no law that prohibits feeding of street animals, and that citizens who choose to do so are in fact performing a duty cast upon them by the Constitution of India. Persons who are trying to interfere with their effort, or display aggression, can be held liable for having committed the offence described in the Indian Penal Code and criminal intimidation. Moreover, that as per Indian law, street dogs cannot be beaten or driven away. Please remember that the only humane, legal and scientific way of dealing with street dogs is to get them vaccinated and sterilised under Animal Birth Control Programme (ABC). Under this program, stray dogs are picked up, neutered, vaccinated against rabies and released in the respective areas from where they had been captured, which is in accordance with the Animal Birth Control Rules 2001 framed, under Section 38 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960 and as per the orders of Honourable Supreme Court of India.
For more information on ‘Indian Street Dogs and their ‘rights’ please read this
My neighbours have hurt the dogs that I feed. What shall I do?
- You can calmly ask your neighbour to be kind to them and explain to them that strays cannot afford to buy a home, or make money to buy food and they have no where else to go.
- If the neighbours do not still listen, which is most likely, you may:
- Find someone with authority to talk to them, contact the local Animal Welfare Organisations in your city. You may find the the information about that through google, or a vet or social networking sites and groups.
- Register a complaint with the nearest police station under Section 11 or 12 related to the PCA act.
- Take pictures and videos of them harassing the dogs and share on social media and someone may help you.
- Please ensure to tell your neighbour that hurting a dog, and harassing a person who is feeding a stray, is strictly against the law, and it is upheld as a cognizable offence.
How do I clean my strays? Some can get aggressive.
Do not attempt to touch a stray unless you are completely comfortable. When any dog, whether stray or home, is in pain, it is usually advisable that only the ones closest to them should attempt to touch them.
Find the nearest vet and ask them to make a house/street call to treat them.
How to administer basic first aid on strays?
- Administering first aid on a stray will depend on the nature of the issue. If it is serious and they cannot move, call a vet.
- If they can be moved, get them to a vet asap.
- If you feel they are not too sick, yet need attention, then use your discretion to treat them. Offer them some water (mixed with electrolyte powder/glucose). Then call a friend who may know how to help.
- Again call a vet, they will give you the best advice.
How can I spread awareness in my locality?
- Write down what you want to say, complete with links, and phone numbers and print them in a flyer and post wherever you can.
- Be innovative with your writing. Pictures go a long way, as opposed to long sentences that people may not read. A short poem/proverbs are great ways to catch peoples’ attention.
- Join hands with friends or people who care from groups interested in helping animals and hold a meeting and invite people to attend it.
- Join social media groups and voice your opinion.
What rights do stray dogs have?
1. They have the right to be fed by any human.
2. They have the right to live where they are born and hence the reason why local governing bodies do not remove them from the localities they live in.
3. They have a right to bark.
4. They have a right to love and be loved.
5. They have the right to have a human representative to speak for them, and to help them.
Who is the closest rescue group/NGO that I can reach out to?
I recommend Jaagruti, for they have extensive knowledge and experience in this field, or write to them at firstname.lastname@example.org
You may alternatively reach out to local vet’s for they usually know what to do in an emergency.
I can’t feed dogs or adopt them. How else can I help?
Strays prefer kindness to food at any given point in time. You can help in other ways too:
- You can help by reporting an incident of cruelty towards them to authorities, or telling the individual that is being cruel to stop it.
- You can help get them neutered so they do not multiply. You can do this by calling the local administrative body such as BBMP, and they will come and neuter the dogs.
- You may also administer Anti Rabies Vaccine to the strays, with the help of the vet. Ask your local vet if there is a discount, which is often provided by vets when people help strays.
- Start writing a blog about them, and maybe you will find like minded people who will begin to connect to, or newbies who may begin to care.
The following are social media groups/handles on Facebook that you may be interested in joining, so that you can have support and the information you need.
They are indeed helpful.
- People for Animals: https://www.facebook.com/people4animals/timeline
- Animal Aid Unlimited: https://www.facebook.com/AnimalAidUnlimited?fref=ts
- Red Paws Rescue: https://www.facebook.com/redpawsrescue?ref=timeline_chaining
- Voice of Stray Dogs: https://www.facebook.com/strays.in?ref=timeline_chaining
- Happy Stray Dogs: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Happy-Stray-Dogs/583197031801619?fref=ts
The following are the names and numbers of stray dog, helplines in Dehi and NCR as per Jaagruti’s website.
At Jaagruti’s website you may also find other phone and numbers related to the rescue of other animals.
- Friendicoes (Under Defence Colony flyover, South Delhi): 24 hour Ambulance Service: 98733 02580; 011-011- 24320707 and011- 24314787. Friendicoes also runs, both, the Ghazipur Veterinary Hospital based Street Dog ABC Unit and Tilangpur Kotla based Street Dog ABC (Animal Birth Control) Unit, South West Delhi, near Najafgarh. Contact persons: Mr. Rishipal (ambulance contact ) – 8527192714, Dr. Rajesh – 9996904043
- Animal India Trust (Lajpat Nagar, South Delhi): Dr. Devi: 93138 84347, 98112 52592; 011-5566 9924. This is primarily a Street Dog ABC Unit and a Clinic. Animal India Trust also runs a Street dog ABC unit at Tughlaqabad Veterinary Hospital.
- Sanjay Gandhi Animal Care Centre (Raja Garden, West Delhi): 93122 11134, 011-2544 7751, 2544 8062
- Sonadi Charitable Trust (Najafgarh): Mrs. Sen (C.R Park): 011- 26275216, 92121 31218; 9212797693;
- Vijay (Clinic at Ramesh Nagar, West Delhi): 98100 54693;
- Inder (Vet at Dwarka): 98103 46793
- Jeevashram (Rajokri, Near Gurgaon): 011-2506 3696, 2506 4114, 2506 4118
- PAWS (Masoodpur, Vasant Kunj, South Delhi): Dr. R.T Sharma: 98100 36254; 011 2689 5737
- People for Animals -PFA Delhi Headquarters, Delhi: 011-2335 5883, 2335 7088, 2335 9241
Contributed by – Rose Garg