One day in 2012, a group of residents from our block turned up outside my house. A police constable was among them. My husband went outside to talk to them because we had no idea what this would be about. It appeared that they had complained about us feeding and interacting with stray dogs in our area. We invited them all inside our home and offered some tea to discuss the matter.

It was then that I found out that there is a general perception that whoever feeds and takes care of strays is regarded as the cause of community dogs becoming a “menace”. For me this was the world upside down: I had personally made sure that the strays living in our part of the colony were sterilised and vaccinated. I thought I had contributed at least a large share to solving the problem of overpopulation as well as eradicating rabies and other contagious dog diseases from our area.

Fortunately, animal feeders and caretakers are protected by law in this country. They carry out their constitutional duty to be compassionate with living beings. Animal protection laws are clear about dos and don’ts, but people’s perceptions are hard to change. My husband and I then applied with the Animal Welfare Board of India for a Colony Animal Caretaker status.

It was three years later (2015), when I submitted a proposal to our Residents Welfare Association to adopt a community stray dog management policy based on positive action. Without success. Again two years later (2017) there was a period in which dog bites had increased in our colony – for whatever reason. Fortunately, this time I received a listening ear from the president of the RWA.

A dog group was established coordinated by the RWA secretary. We started to methodically implement a stepwise plan to manage the stray dog population. The result? A puppy-free and rabies-free colony. Unfortunately, we have not yet reached the status of peaceful coexistence. More awareness needs to be raised, for which we are lucky to have an active group of individual residents promoting positive action. Youth is getting involved and creative tools such as posters, flyers, paw soaps, paw-bookmarks etc. have been produced.

I am happy to share these tools with anyone who would also like to make a difference in their own neighbourhood. I am personally available for guidance and facilitation on how to implement the practical steps as promoted by Stray Buddy. Feel free to contact us via the online form!


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