By Ritu Maria Johny
Chennai: A recent incident of almost 40-50 stray dogs being poisoned to death in the Loyola college campus, points to the lack of awareness and apathy of the so-called ‘law abiding’ and ‘educated’ citizens of the country.
After the three day break for Diwali in November 2018, the college students came back to see a shocking reduction in the number of the many harmless dogs that used to loiter around in the campus.
With only 10 or so dogs remaining in the campus, the enraged students tried to raise a complaint, but it fell on deaf ears.
Anton Dayanithi, a second-year student, says, “Although the professors complain about these dogs biting students, I have never encountered or heard of such an issue.” He adds that when the authorities were confronted, they did not deny the incident but instead, shrugged it off with a careless ‘I don’t know’.
Upon receiving a complaint, the Nungambakkam police station initiated a preliminary investigation, but due to lack of evidence, had to close the case. Assistant commissioner of police, S. Muthuvelpandi, says, “Even the animal welfare organisation withdrew the initial complaint and the college authorities established it as a rumour, what can we do then?”
The sprawling campus of IIT Madras is home to over 80 dogs, more than a 100 deer and 25 black bucks. Following an allegation by the authorities that a black buck and two deer were killed by the stray dogs, they had issued a circular to the students, restraining them from feeding the strays.
“Students are wary of the new circular in terms of obedience to the rules, and hence are apprehensive of feeding even a biscuit to the poor things. They only stick to their marked territories and I’ve never heard of them being violent,” asserts Vivek Vishwanath, a PhD scholar, who was just back from buying dog food. He was miffed that his repeated complaints against clicking photographs and flashing lights at the dogs haven’t been paid attention to, while the complaints of a group of anti-dog lovers are consistently taken up and acted upon.
Vivek, a member of the Friends of Animals, a group that looks after the safety of these dogs, also adds that all the dogs were named and even sterilised and treated for any diseases, thus not posing any health risks