As dogs and their victims continue to hit headlines many of my friends and acquaintances have been suggesting measures to tackle this knotty problem and I think this is the right time to bring these suggestions to the notice of the concerned.
One of my friends has throughout been a bitter critic of sterilization as a measure to tackle the dog menace. "As the worthy judge famously remarked will it stop the dogs from biting people?" he always says. "No it won't! The only way to prevent dogs from biting people is to have their teeth extracted." he maintains. On being asked as to how these toothless dogs will eat and survive he says, "The authorities can always provide mashed food and liquid diet for these dogs. That will be cheaper than setting up all those dog ponds." Pertinent to mention here this guy is an out of work dentist.
"The authorities should set up TV screens on the roadside which will play dog movies like 101 Dalmatians, Cats and Dogs, Bolt, etc. so that the dogs are entertained. They can also commission TV serials made exclusively for dogs like say Kyunki Kutta Bhi Kabhi Puppy Tha. This will turn all dogs into couch potatoes and they will feel too lazy to bite. After all it is not that dogs want to eat people, they bite because they probably feel bored and are looking for some excitement." This comes from another friend of mine who by the way has been unsuccessfully trying to make TV serials for humans.
A cousin of mine who travels frequently to Ladakh in connection with his business says that there is lots and lots of uninhabited land in Ladakh. "There is no human settlement in sight for scores of kilometers. All dogs should be rehabilitated in a dog city which could be set up in this wilderness," he says, "The authorities can arrange to air-drop food packets for these dogs on a daily basis for which they can seek help from the army."
This one comes from a friend of my aforementioned cousin. He says that instead of setting a dog city in some wilderness in Ladakh, the dogs could be sent to populate the Siachen glacier. "The Pakistani side can also bring all their dogs there and the area could be made a buffer zone jointly administered by India and Pakistan." He goes on to say that this measure will give rise to exciting possibilities. "If this experiment of a dog zone administered jointly by the two countries is successful it can become a model for settling the Kashmir dispute. Just imagine the next generation of these dogs will have a mix of Indian and Pakistani blood, nothing better to bring the two neighbours closer!" he gets uncontrollably excited by this vision of peace between the two countries.
During a discussion at a wedding party this guy came up with a novel way to deal with the problem. "The authorities should catch all dogs and then rehabilitate them on a big luxury island which should be created in the middle of the Dal lake leaving only a couple of hundred meters of lake around the island to prevent the dogs from escaping. This will not only solve the dog problem but can be a boost to the Tourism sector as well because this island will be a great attraction to dog lovers from all over the world. Thus in addition to other forms of tourism like adventure tourism, pilgrim tourism etc. we can have dog tourism as well. This island will have all facilities including kennels big enough to accommodate dog tourists as well as dogs. I tell you Kashmir will become so prosperous in a couple of years time because of this dog tourism that all of us will be wagging our tails," he said with a great deal of enthusiasm. On enquiring about the guy I came to know that he is in the 'tourism business' running a seedy hotel frequented more by local profligates who need a couple of hours of privacy than by tourists. This may be just malicious gossip but a guest sitting next to me whispered in my ear that his hourly clientele already included some dogs and their human companions.
A well known peace activist suggested this one. "Hasn't it always been said that a dog is man's best friend so all this biting business is probably just because of mutual misunderstanding. We could rope in some motivational speakers including some of our own Gun-to-Gandhi coverts to lecture about peace to congregations of dogs (who can be brought to the venue in buses like is done in case of people whenever there is a political rally). To promote goodwill between dogs and people we can also set up giant hoardings with pictures of say ferocious looking dogs lovingly licking chubby little naked human babies or again smiling humans carrying puppies on their shoulders with the message 'Kutta Aur Awaam, Bhaichara hai Paigham' boldly inscribed beneath. The SHRC and the SPCA can be amalgamated (which might possibly give some teeth to the SHRC as well!) and they can fight together for human and dog rights!"
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