Mumbai- 400 016
Date: 13 November 2010
Your story carried in the Mumbai edition on 6 November 2010 on page no.5 about the stray dog of Thane that was beaten to death by the residents after it bit two kids leaves me very sad. I find your story so disturbing that I can’t stop myself writing this letter even though a few days have passed by.
We have a Great Dane with us and take keen interest in observing the canine behaviour. In fact, my brother has been bitten/scratched umpteen times when helping to resolve fights between dominant alpha males owned by people around us. In one case the bite being so intense that his body went in shock for a few minutes. So we know about dog bites and dog behaviours and we also sympathise with both the children who got bitten.
Sadly, our favourite Diwali is also a time when the stray dogs in the neighbourhood are scared to death by the loud bangs of the fire crackers. And then there are morons who tie fire crackers to the tail of an unsuspecting stray dog and somehow find this demented behaviour highly entertaining. Our known friendly strays- that usually play with us too- seem completely stressed and scared of even us approaching them around Diwali days.
Clearly, the person working on the story that your paper printed had little understanding on the subject he/she was covering. Strays do not bite people as a hobby.
Who will find out what had happened to the Thane stray dog before it bit the kid? Or even if the already scared canine saw a bunch of play enthusiast kids approaching as a danger to its safety. And something makes me pretty sure that the rest of the number of ‘bites’ that made the story so intriguing to your reporter must be injuries or scratches occurred while a bunch of people were beating the dog to death. All the animal behaviourists that I know refused to believe that any dog would have gone on a ‘biting spree’.
What is more disturbing then the actual event is the inadvertently wrong approach of the story. There is no effort on the reporter’s part to quote a vet or an animal behaviourist or even a simple dog lover of the neighborhood. There is also no concern shown over the fact that killing an animal by beating it is a criminal offence. Even when there is no resort but to kill an animal you are required to have permission from the magistrate and only a vet can put the animal to sleep by sedation.
One can understand the ‘brave’ residents of thane not knowing this fact- but your story hurts even more- because it ends up justifying the killing and even appreciating the ‘good deed’ of the residents. This story would only convince people that their act out of ignorance was the right one.
This letter is not written with anger. Hopefully the person/s reading this will not find my efforts funny and will see the sadness behind it. How would any dog lover feel about a dog brutally beaten to death by its neighbourhood residents?
Eden 1, A-604
Powai, Mumbai- 400 076