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A voice for the strays

Published : Nov 3, 2016, 10:00 pm IST
Updated : Nov 3, 2016, 10:00 pm IST

Animal rights activist Rinky Karmakar believes that there is a lot that Kerala could learn from Mumbai about how to treat stray dogs

Young volunteers and the puppies they rescued, a neighbourhood caretaker feeds the local strays.
 Young volunteers and the puppies they rescued, a neighbourhood caretaker feeds the local strays.

Animal rights activist Rinky Karmakar believes that there is a lot that Kerala could learn from Mumbai about how to treat stray dogs

The mass culling of stray dogs in Kerala has caused an outrage throughout the country. While stray incidents of animal cruelty get reported from time to time, the systematic killing of dogs in several Kerala cities by members of political parties does not have a precedent, according to animal activist Rinky Karmakar. A trustee of Save our Strays, who has been associated with the organisation since 2008, Rinky declared that she would be happy to host government delegates from Kerala. According to her, there is much that they can learn from animal lovers in Mumbai.

“Getting dogs used to people and making them community-friendly is a great step towards reducing the human-dog conflict,” says Rinky. The lady, who remembers always being around dogs, is completely outraged about the situation in Kerala and believes that an attitude change is absolutely essential. “You hear about rallies being taken out with dead bodies of dogs, and it’s completely impossible to digest. There are people who even encourage their children to be cruel to dogs! The situation is so much better in Mumbai. Yes, you have stray incidents being reported, but nothing like this. Kerala could learn a thing or two from us and I personally would be happy if government delegates would come here and learn about how organisations like ours work,” says an outraged Rinky.

Even before she became an animal activist with Save our Strays, Rinky had begun her journey as an animal activist when she simply started feeding the strays in the neighbourhood. “Once I had their trust, I could treat their wounds, which is something I learned to do. Eventually, I also started to find out about places where I could take them for vaccination and sterilisation,” she explains.

According to Rinky, the surest way to earn an animal’s trust is through regular feedings. It is these animal caretakers in each neighbourhood, who can help with sterilisation drives as well. “A stray will never come willingly with you if it doesn’t trust you. So the best way to go on sterilisation drives is to take the help of their feeders. There is usually a feeder or a caretaker in every locality,” she explains.

While Rinky believes that it is essential to have stricter rules about animal cruelty, she believes that a change in outlook is what is really needed. “None of us are born animal-lovers, but there is a certain amount of compassion that we all have. Dogs are not innately harmful but they are suspicious of people because for every animal lover, there are three haters. I have been working with dogs for years now, and dogs in the city are vaccinated, sterilised and healthy, not to mention friendly and mostly lazy,” she asserts.