49 is no age to die and in such a terrifying circumstance. My heart reaches out to the family of Parag Desai, Executive Director of Wagh Bakhri Tea Company, who succumbed to his death, from a severe head injury, because of an attack of rabid stray dogs in Ahmedabad.
So, the question that arises in my mind, is whether his children and wife will ever be able to trust a stray dog on the street? How will they get over this untimely and unfair closure?
Often we patiently listen to claims made, by biased dog lovers, that a dog won’t attack unless provoked.
While we all know the number of attacks on pet dogs in Delhi’s apartment lifts, that does not get its due debate, but for the sporadic scrolling attention on social media handles.
One can’t forget the horrific elderly lady who was attacked by her son’s pet Pit Bull. Little children who are attacked. While all along the dog lovers deny these atrocities. Making it appear like the dog must’ve seen something sinister to attack. So it’s the victim’s fault.
The number of rabies attack deaths in India is not fully known, although as per available information, it causes 18000-20000 deaths every year. About 30-60% of reported rabies cases and deaths in India occur in children below the age of 15 years. The bites that occur in children often go unrecognised and unreported. With cities and migration, innumerable labourers sleep in open places with no safety, one can’t fathom what they would do when their children are killed or maimed by bites from aggressive dogs.
This leaves us questioning this biased argument of the recent surge of animal guardians, who bring home exotic pets, without being totally committed to the pet’s well-being. Many pets die untimely death because they can’t express loneliness in words.
During the pandemic, many people went out of their way to feed stray dogs and treat them if and when they were run over by a moving vehicle. They carry blankets during winter so the dogs do not feel cold. While there are again uncountable human beings who die in India of hunger, untreatable diseases and seasonal changes. Whom do we choose to help? The ones we fancy and think deserve kindness and compassion, which we all know is subjective.
The guilt is not attached to squatting the cockroach at home, with repulsion. As the cockroach is killed, the pet in the same home is treated to expensive products.
So, again the question is, if the cockroach’s repulsive look makes it deserve the death, unlike the chosen pet? So, who must decide, what is right versus what is wrong? With these horrendous incidents, we hope dogs must be compulsorily sterilised, vaccinated or just banned in apartments keeping the sanctity and respecting the rights of non-dog-loving folks.
Talking of exotic pets, the African grey parrot plucks its own feather, out of boredom, dying earlier than their natural lifespan. It is impossible to fathom the boredom of pet fish, swimming round and round in bowls and glass boxes.
Millions of animals are brought into the homes of pet lovers solely for personal pleasure. This equation isn’t equal in its reciprocity. We need to probably look within ourselves to judge how fair is this relationship, between pet, stray and human.
Mohua Chinappa is an author, and podcaster and runs a space called Asmee dedicated to telling the unheard stories of women.
Views expressed by the author are their own.
Suggested reading: Wagh Bakri's 49-Year-Old CEO Parag Desai Dies Of Brain Haemorrhage