The Doggie Drive

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Today we were walking through Alangayam high street and saw a sight that chilled my heart. The sound was worse and made me want to cry right there. Few of the locals seemed bothered, and a few were laughing at the 20-30 caged street dogs screaming their guts out in the back of a van.

Instantly thinking the worst we wondered why no one cared that these dogs were in such distress (and likely about to be put down). Their eyes searched the faces walking past, their paws searched every gap in the cage, and their voices searched horrifying octaves for any chance of release.

Me being my polite passive self I walked past without protest and went back to the house to research what happens to street dogs in South India. I expected to regret my bystander behaviour but I was actually pleasantly surprised.

In a ‘developing’ country so strongly patronised by the west I found myself making snap judgements. These dogs weren’t going to a pound but a vet. Communities across Tamil Nadu are rolling out an anti street dog regime the humane (and expensive) way. Vets were neutering, vaccinating, and cleaning up street dogs to reduce the next generation. Chennai city has promised not to put street dogs down and this doggie drive would be making a return trip.

Overall, India has opened my heart to the reality of animal cruelty. Seeing a limping street dog isn’t cruelty, its nature. Killing that dog so people don’t have to see something unpleasant is cruelty. 

Though some people may shoo a few street dogs with sticks and kill a few chickens in public, such is the truth of life. You will see things you don’t want to in India but won’t be living off the products of intensive farming (where animals live out their lives in cages smaller than their bodies).

I suppose everyone has different opinions but as a dog lover and a sensitive soul I would rather have seen those trapped dogs today than the statistic that 21 are destroyed every day in the UK. Team India.  

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