Ayman Mustakim, Mashrur Faiyaz
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you must’ve heard of the recent initiative taken by DSCC to relocate thousands of dogs. This initiative was apparently taken because a small number of citizens complained regarding the increased population of street dogs. While that may seem like a good idea to these cynophobics, Happy Tails believes otherwise.
The increased population of street dogs in Dhaka is quickly becoming the headache of many people. However, they believe that this relocation programme won’t help in any way, instead it will worsen the situation for everyone. Here’s why:
Dogs are very territorial; they usually don’t leave their territory, neither do they let other dogs enter their territory. When anything happens otherwise, for instance if a dog is relocated from its neighbourhood, the freely roaming street dogs fight to take its place. This only worsens the situation. Panic is created amongst the citizens, especially the very same people who are afraid of dogs. Disturbance is created amongst the older citizens. Moreover, many dogs are injured and some of them even die.
If that isn’t enough reason to stand against this decision taken by DSCC, here are some more:
1. Street animals, dogs included, often take up the task of maintaining ecological balance. People often throw various leftover food on the streets, even though it’s a harmful practice. Little do we know that dogs often eat up that leftover food and thus, help keep the environment clean!
2. Dogs, unbelievably, can actually chase rats and mice away. There are many small animals like these in our sewers, and dogs can help keep them in their place. Otherwise, there would be an overflow of mice in the city and that wouldn’t be very pleasant, would it?
3. Due to their territorial nature, dogs can help keep strangers, thieves, and addicts away from our areas as well. Dogs living in a certain area recognise the odour of the people living there, and therefore, when they see anyone unknown or unannounced entering the area, they tend to bark very loudly in order to signal everyone in the area of the possible threat.
There are many, many more advantages to keeping dogs right where they are in our city. The fear of dogs in our country mostly stems from the fear of getting bit from dogs and getting rabies. However, the government has taken an initiative to make Bangladesh a rabies-free country by 2022 and they are working towards that goal pretty actively.
It is safe to say that very rarely will a dog’s bite give you rabies. And the positive sides of a dog hugely outweigh the negative sides. There have been several movements against the decision taken by DSCC to relocate dogs and the volunteers at Happy Tails have participated in and stood with these movements. There are much better solutions to stop the excessive breeding of dogs. One of the most famous ways is through spaying or neutering. Many animal welfare activists have been doing this in various areas of Dhaka.
Dogs are our friends and if you know how to treat them, there is no reason why you should fear them. Happy Tails believes that these beautiful creatures deserve to live among us, not in some remote isolated area where they most likely won’t survive. The city belongs to them, as it does to us.