When we talk about college life, we mention assignments, books, chai, friends, exams, teachers, maggi, therapy sessions, etc. But, the one part about college that is so crucial yet so untalked about is the dogs on campus. Every year, a batch of students leave the college and a new one joins, but amidst this what stays the same is your college’s dog gang.
They don’t bite, they play with you, look at you with puppy eyes until you give them food, and bask in the sun in the lawns in winters with everyone else. We love them, don’t we?
But, imagine if over 50 dogs die on your campus in just one year. Unfortunately, this scene is not just limited to your imagination and actually took place at IIT Madras.
Ill-Treatment Of Dogs At IIT Madras
IIT Madras has a dog shelter where rescued stray dogs are kept and fed. However, 30% of the total dogs in the shelter died in the span of just one year. The Health And Family Welfare Minister of Tamil Nadu, Ma Subramanian visited the campus after the news of alleged mistreatment of dogs surfaced.
In a statement to the press, he said, “There were 188 dogs at the shelter house as per October 2020 data. The IIT management had constituted a committee to monitor the dogs. Nine full-time workers were deployed to care for the dogs, and the latter were kept inside two confined areas spread over 10,600 square feet.”
To explain their confinement, the minister said that the dogs were attacking deers inside the campus and as many as 55 deers have died since 2018 because of dog attacks. Hence to preserve their population, it became vital to keep dogs in captivity.
However, this fails to explain why as many as 56 dogs died if proper care and nutrition was being provided.
Animal Rights Activists Alarmed
KB Harish, a Bengaluru-based animal activist, filed a complaint against the IIT Madras management and accused them of mistreating the dogs. The college administration tried to dismiss the issue by labelling those deaths as natural, caused by old age.
But those dogs were 9-11 years old only. The average lifespan of stray dogs is 12-14 years. So, KB Harish was not convinced that the deaths are merely due to old age.
Moreover, they are not convinced by the explanation provided by the management for keeping them caged.
“..It (IIT Madras) did not even have any proof to back its claim of dogs being responsible for deer deaths, other than some manipulated pictures of dogs near the carcass of deer. Dogs feed on dead animals, they do not hunt like other wild animals. The chance of deer getting killed by dogs is minimal,” said Arun Prasanna, the founder of People for Cattle in India (PFCI).
The management said that 29 dogs were given up for adoption, 2 escaped and 14 were let out because of their non-aggressive behaviour. But, Arun is not convinced with these figures either. He added,
“I have been an animal activist for the past 10 years. People tend to adopt cute puppies, but getting them to adopt stray dogs is a challenging task.
Twenty-nine is a big number and they also said that 14 dogs were let out as they were not aggressive. I was in the campus when the minister inspected the dog cell for about two hours and we could not find even a single dog roaming in the campus.
We are going to file a petition in the court demanding the release of the remaining 87 dogs and seeking greater transparency from the management”
The institute has been asked to provide evidence of the adoptions.
Upon inspection of three confined dogs by veterinarians, it was found that the dogs were seriously undernourished. They seemed like they were kept “off the food” and dehydrated. They were neither vaccinated nor dewormed.
Two of them were severely anemic and admitted to the ICU.
Captivity does not bode well for feral animals such as dogs. The institute cannot provide any solid reason to back up their reason for keeping them in cages for almost a year.
If you suspect anyone in your vicinity of ill-treating stray dogs, then you should report it immediately to PETA India on 022 4072 7382. Because those dogs cannot speak, but you can. And you should!
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This post is tagged under: iit madras, engineering college, chennai, tamil nadu, tamil nadu health and family welfare minister, stray dogs, dogs in captivity, malnourished dogs, animal rights, animal rights activists, adoption, animal violence, decency