Posted by: Mojo Jojo | April 24, 2007

Dog Days


It was in the last couple of months that the dogs in my city achieved infamy.
Apparently, a large number of the streeties had decided to gang up and attack a four-year-old human (the name was Manjunath, I think) in broad daylight.
The child was mauled to death and consequently, the city embarked on one of its biggest kill-the-mutt campaigns — exterminating hundreds of dogs, many of which were presumably innocent of anti-human crimes. Experts, who excelled in baiting the canines with fish hooks and strings, were brought from neighbouring Kerala to end the ‘menace’.
Dogs ruled newspaper headlines for the next few days.
Dominating the other columns in the papers were animal rights activists, who claimed that the administration’s reaction was a little too extreme. There were rallies, with activists taking innocent-looking strays into the streets — large signs proclaiming ‘PLEASE DON’T KILL US’ and ‘NOT ME, SIR! I DIDN’T KILL THE BABY’ hanging on their necks.
I am a dog-lover, so I supported the animal rights campaign. My line of thinking went: So, if a gang of men kill a baby – do we exterminate the human race in general? Hell, I even wanted to go and join those people a couple of times.
That was about a month ago, before that fateful night happened.

The Incident

Like I may have told you earlier, my job as a journalist requires me to keep very late hours. And I generally ride home between 2 and 3 am, when desolation and plastic ghosts rule the streets.
Now, I have faced dogs earlier, like the time when I was working with The New Indian Express … but I would bet my life it wasn’t as bad as this.
When I, mounted on my trusty GLX, turned into that particular Indira Nagar street, a scary sight greeted me. The streetlights were shot, and in the darkness I could see thousands of eyes lining the roadside. Staring at me. Unblinking.
I turned my bike lights on, and saw them. Dogs of all kinds — brown, light tan, dappled, black hairy, hairless — slowly climbing onto the road to block my path. And they were there to the very end of the horizon, which touched the HAL II Stage road.
The mutts were starting to bare their fangs now… their tails wagging slowly, from side to side.
I did the only thing I could in the circumstances— lifted my feet as high as I could, revved up the engine and tried to reach 80 kmph in 2.5 seconds. About the same time as the dogs pounced upon me, gnashing their teeth.
I was scared. Scared shitless, for my life and body. The bike zoomed ahead like a rocketship-gone-insane but still, the hounds from hell were everywhere. And apart from the dogs, there were puddles on the road too — one wrong swerve and I could go down in a blaze of glory.
In those fifty terrible seconds, Manjunath was not just some name in a newspaper. Manjunath was me. Running scared for his life.
At seventy-five kilometres per hour, I heard a bump. I had hit one of my attackers on its rump, and in the dwindling distance I could see it painfully pulling itself across the street. Strangely, I felt no pity, none of my usual holier-than-thou sympathy … no, this time I was happy with what had happened.
The bastards drew first blood. That mutt got what he deserved.
The dogs were still around. My speedometer needle was fast approaching 85, when — suddenly — another bike came up right in front of me.
Even in the glare of his headlight, I could see his frightened face. The situation seemed to be scaring him too. Don’t have a problem with that but, hey, I am fighting for my life here — GET OUTTA MY WAY !!
Even as I heard hungry jaws snapping around me, I had this terrible vision — of my bike crashing into the other, both of us flying in the air before hitting the ground with a thud … and then, the idiot dogs chewing on our remains.
Instinctively, I took in a deep breath and closed my eyes tight.
But nothing hit me, save for the wind. I looked around…. now there were no dogs on the scene, just a lonesome truck approaching from the distance. I had reached HAL road. Safe.
I could hear the canines in the distance, trying to get at the other guy … who didn’t seem to be enjoying himself either.
I don’t know if the doggie dearies realised it, but they had just lost a friend.

Post Script

They did it again last night, and the night before. Though I still don’t want them to be killed or castrated, ending up as dog food doesn’t seem to be a very attractive option either.
Another day, another dilemma. As usual.

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Responses

  1. Excuse me? Where’s the dilemma?
    Reminds me of the time somewhere in the American Wild West when the coyote population got out of hand and started killing sheep and cattle. The government sent down a couple of young black suited college educated civil servants from the animal husbandry department to handle the situation. They called a meeting of the local farmers and explained that they would be trapping, castrating and releasing the coyotes back into the wild. Well, that’s the point at which one of the old farmers got up and said:
    “Son, I don’t think you understood the problem. Them critters is killing my livestock, not raping them.”

    Jokes apart, Jimmy – didn’t realise the situation was this bad. Please be careful and get your newspaper to organise a taxi to drop you home at night.

  2. oh no!
    more moes on your prowl! 😦 take care.
    and who the hell asked you to think you were in dhoom. why didnt you turn the vehicle around and take another route?
    @3inone: totally appropriate.
    i have never really cared for dogs but cant bear them to get killed either.

  3. @ 3inOne: Castrating them would, of course, make them stop raping each other and, in the process, stop them from producing more rapists. AARGH! Mebbe I’m just becoming more insensitive with age 😛
    The dilemma? Nothing much, considering that one little idiot sitting in Bangalore can’t decide on the fate of its million streetdogs.
    But yeah, the thing is: Earlier, I was dead sure about my support for the doggie cause. Now, I ain’t all that certain. Can’t take the company taxi because it’ll drop me home three hours after I am supposed to. So the bike’ll have to do 😦
    Stepping out now… hope I don’t get attacked again, bye – pray for me!

    @ Rama: Hey! I don’t want them killed! But I don’t want me killed, either.
    You better believe it, I have tried three roundabout ways to reach home – and met rogue dogs on every one of them. Taking the fourth one would mean a whole chakkar of Bangalore city. People say its because they are currently on heat… which scares me all the more 😉

  4. Well written as usual. I wanted the story to last longer, at the same time wanted to know what happened in the end 🙂

    There are lots of stray dogs in Delhi too. They’re usually docile and scared stiff most of the time. But when they’re in a pack, or if you’re alone, or if you’re a little kid, these dogs can turn quite savage. Lots of my friends have been bitten by these dogs, and the worst thing about even a little nip is that you need to take 5 or so injections against rabies :((

    I am not for rampant killing of all stray dogs, but there should be a proper animal shelter or something which will take care of these strays,me thinks.

  5. yea JJ..am a big dog lover..but yea that dosent mean i wanna be bitten by any of them…i remember being chased in the middle of the night, while i was in kerala..and sadly i was riding my TVS 50 champ..he he…it wasnt fast enough, but i managed to escape in one piece..
    anwyay…im against killing those mutts, and i wonder how practical it would be to take them to a shelter.. dont know if our Govt has even invested in one.

  6. Hi Jimmy, Like all of those commenting above me, I love dogs, but wouldn’t offer myself to be chewed up by them! Kavita Khanna (actor Vinod Khanna’s wife) wrote a rather interesting piece on how to handle the problem of strays. Maybe you’ve already read it. If not, you can copy-paste the following link in the browser and read up:

    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/City_Supplements/Delhi_Times/Look_what_strayed_into_Khannas_home/articleshow/1825135.cms

    And yes, that was well written!

  7. yo man, that mustv been damn scary…. well, im not a dog lover (though im not a blood lover either, to have them all killed)
    everytime i walk on chennai streets, i have this mad feeling, that the medicine (or however it is they are kept harmless) has worn out, But you also do feel pity, because, keeping them this way, they are so scared of people, not like a dog at all…
    actually, in Kerala, the situation is infinitely better. atleast the dogs are not so pathetic to look at with sores and all…

  8. Can’t stand animals, they stink and get hair on your clothes.

    I do like the animals I eat

  9. @ Fan: Ha, ha! Thanks raaa… but if something had actually happened in the end, guess I wouldn’t have been here writing this post 😉
    The dogs over here are like that, too. You come across one lone dog, he’ll be scurrying away from you as if you’re gonna eat him up or something. But they gang up with their friends and, ahem, you get to see the WILDer side of them!
    Dog shelters seem to be a good idea but I really don’t know if the administration is equipped for it… they seem to be having trouble sheltering human beings, in the first place.

    @ Div: Ha ha, guy! How did you manage to outrace the dog on your Champ??! Tell me that one, I can’t figure it out any way I see it 😛
    Kidding, man. But real happy you managed to escape. Come to think of it, this situation weighs the hardest on us dog lovers…

    @ Me: You understand the problem, of course. Like Ms Khanna said, sterilisation is another viable way to check the problem but … well … it also seems to go a little against animal rights tooo.
    But it certainly seems to be the best option of the lot, considering that we are really running out of them 😉

    @ Ab: Yeah, Kerala is better. And come to think of it — you don’t find as many strays there…
    Tell you the truth, man … I have had many scary moments in my life – but this one could beat the shit outta any of them.

    @ Andrew: Har har. So, I guess this dilemma is totally lost on you!
    Envy your position. But share your love for the animals we eat 😛 😛

  10. That’s one scary story 😦 I was vehemently opposed to the killings myself when I first heard about it, but then I’ve heard so many stories like this that it’s kinda worrying.

    Oh, try not to get yourself killed, we’ll run out of morning reads.
    Erm, that might have been an inappropriate remark, in that case, bleep it out.

  11. Just stopped to say hello.Nice blog you have. I am from Bangalore too 🙂

  12. I have been chased by one dog while on a bike…not several chasing a motor bike…that did sound scary Jimmy. When in packs, dogs tend to behave very badly. Small animals and children become game. Sad but true. While I don’t like the idea of a whole sale slaughter it looks like their population is very high and this seems to be the only way folks know how to control them. (shrug) Time for high boots Jimmy. Good luck with riding late at night.

  13. I think the law here is that if the dog is on the street, it’s taken back to the pound, where the owner can collect it for a price, if it has an owner. All dogs are put down after a certain time. Maybe this could work in India ? The animal activists could buy and look after dogs, the extremists would have them off the streets ?

  14. oh no! 😦 …I knew this was going to happen some day..I mean the dogs in Indira Nagar scared the heck out of me, even when they were not as wild; there were times when those things would follow me (silently) :-(..crazy things…I don’t mean to disrespect them, but I never liked them..
    anyways..take care

  15. I just hope animal rights activists are as kind to human beings as they are to animals. India teems with the poor. Animals shud come second to humans I feel. But that’s just my opinion 🙂

    Since our govt is probably not equipped/inclined to do something abt stray dogs, dog lovers probably should take matters into their own hands and create a shelter or something for them. What’s the use of protesting w/o action? But that probably depends on how strongly they feel about dogs I suppose. Even a non-stray-dog-lover like me would donate if they ask 😛

  16. Hmm all this reminds me of a movie i recently watched about dogs called ‘good boy’…..
    The story was about how originally dogs are supposed to be the masters and the humans, to be pets……And how an alien dog comes to earth to train the earth dogs to overtake the world, or humans to be precise…..
    hmm…
    But the ‘sort of pet dog’ of my building is the laziest i hve ever seen…..he wud slumber the afternnon away on of the steps…u can scream, shout, try all sort of antics to move it….but he wudnt bat an eyelid…..just at times he wud raise his head and look at u as if to say”buzz off..cant u see i am having a nap”…so well i somehow avoid stepping on its tail and literally jump over it…
    But best of luck to u jim..hope u come back everyday in one piece…..

  17. @ Babel: Ha, ha! Far from being inappropriate, that was quite a flattering remark! Thanks! 😀

    @ Starry Nights: Hey, thanks man! Where in Bangalore?

    @ Cats: That’s really true about dogs. Individually, they might seem like the most genteel creatures on the planet… but just let them group up with their friends and relatives – and you can’t help notice the difference!
    The High Boots idea seems good… but considering that dogs tend to go for the throat, I might have to get something for the neck also 😦

    @ Rohan: The administration over here can’t afford dog pounds, I think. And I don’t think dog lovers can afford to look after strays, either.
    Protesting on the streets is one thing, but taking the dogs home is just another. Impractical in many ways, I guess.

    @ Dil: Yeah, I know about that… even strays following you silently in the dead of the night is quite scary.
    The pitter-patter of dog feet behind you, and you are scared even to turn – coz they just might get intimidated into attacking. (Shudder!)

    @ Fan, OT: Hmm. I’m not sure if any kind should come second to any other, but the canine kind shouldn’t be allowed to become a total danger.
    And since, in this case, it’s the dog kind that’s on the offensive, I think something should be done about it…
    And yeah, this is just my problem with dog lovers. They are all too happy to step out on the streets with paper placards, but tell them to invest in a cause that could really help them strays, and they go err, umm… what?
    And I doubt many of them have to ride through bangalore roads at night.

    @Anon: Yeah, I have seen that movie too. About the fox terrier alien dog, who comes to earth to remind the other canines that their actual mission was to take over the world.
    Considering the way the strays are behaving nowadays, mebbe the alien dog’s here – somewhere in the neighbourhood 😀

  18. Oh man! I’ve nearly had me bludy leg bitten off so many times … yeah they gotta do something bout them critters … sadly no soultion seems to be in sight!

    I recall you visited the Blues a some time ago. Sorry for not saying Hello!

    cheers mate!

  19. JIMMY, A LEATHER COLLAR WOULD BE INTERESTING..YOU COULD BE CALLED A LEATHER NECK. 🙂

  20. Admittedly, I’m petrified of dogs (and most other animals unless there’s glass between us). I would’ve died if i were put in your situation probably. Trust me, you’re one brave guy!

  21. if dis wud happen 2 me… i wud switch d gang completely…n go to the side who wants em killed!

    u mist b kind


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