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Thursday, August 09, 2012

India's Stray Dogs: Some Even Come With Rabies

                Heading off to the vet for my rabies vaccine...

When we saw this article in The New York Times a few days ago, we were shocked. We thought that only a handful of rabies cases occurred these days, and didn't realize that in some parts of the world, including India, one of the most populated and sophisticated countries, still suffers not only from a horrendous stray dog population, but a rabid one: "more than a third of the global rabies toll" occurs in India. According to this piece, "Free-roaming dogs number in the tens of millions and bite millions of people annually, including vast numbers of children. [And] an estimated 20,000 people die every year from rabies infections..."

But here's the tragic paradox: A 2001 law forbade the killing of dogs, presumably by euthanasia (it's not clear whether this law applied throughout India or just in New Delhi), which helped the stray dog population soar, but in order to protect themselves from dog attacks, people are doing the killing themselves-and in ways that are less than humane. After a six year old child was slashed by a dog that charged through his family's shack, for example, they beat the dog to death.

Another fascinating bit of history is India's place "as the  global center for rabid dogs...the first dog ever infected with rabies most likely was Indian," according to a rabies expert at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And so this frightening saga continues.

How does an entire country overrun by stray dogs and bitten, frightened people solve this epidemic humanely? We'd love to hear your thoughts.


Unknown said...

Woof! Sadness they do not treat people or animals right!

Wyatt said...

And don't let your guard down here at home. Rabies cases have been on the incline here on the West Coast.
Mostly cases of Raccoons, Coyotes, etc. Keep those vaccines up to date!

Two French Bulldogs said...

Gosh that is nutty. Those poor babies
Benny & Lily

Bocci said...

Good thing rabies vaccines are required by law here! Thanks, Wyatt-didn't realize rabies cases were on the upswing on west coast-wow!

Bocci said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
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