FRANKLY FRANK: This stray problem could lead Goa astray

The State’s burgeoning stray dog population could be detrimental to its tourism, but the issue needs to be tackled with empathy
LET DOWN: In Goa, the issue of stray dogs has been a long-standing challenge without a clear solution in sight.
LET DOWN: In Goa, the issue of stray dogs has been a long-standing challenge without a clear solution in sight.Photo: Pixabay

The bond between humans and dogs is truly ancient, always evoking stories of emotions and love. Caught up in these tumultuous tides of deep emotions and love is a perplexing issue -- the increasing number of stray dogs.

Many people have a deep fondness for dogs and are driven by compassion to provide them with food, often without realising that their well-intentioned actions may actually exacerbate the problem.

LET DOWN: In Goa, the issue of stray dogs has been a long-standing challenge without a clear solution in sight.
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The other day, when I was at the Goa Velha fish market, I saw a woman generously feeding raw chicken pieces to a group of stray dogs. It was evident that she was unaware of the unintended consequences of her actions, as she was inadvertently contributing to the existing issue of stray dogs in the area.

Feeding stray dogs, and that too meat, in a specific location, can result in the strays establishing a territory which they vigorously defend. This may lead to conflicts among the animals or aggressive behaviour towards anyone who approaches the area where they are being fed.

Feeding stray dogs, and that too meat, in a specific location, can result in the strays establishing a territory which they vigorously defend.

There have been instances of territorial conflict where stray dogs, feeling threatened over food, have bitten humans, sometimes leading to serious consequences. While dogs have a right to food, humans also need to be more careful about how they feed them, keeping them away from areas frequented by people.    

In Goa, the issue of stray animals has been a long-standing challenge without a clear solution in sight. It's regrettable that this problem only seems to receive attention in the media when negative incidents such as dog bites occur, rather than being addressed through proactive and preventative measures.

LET DOWN: In Goa, the issue of stray dogs has been a long-standing challenge without a clear solution in sight.
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The issue of stray animals is becoming increasingly problematic on the State's roads and beaches, potentially posing a threat to its thriving tourism industry. While much attention is given to stray dogs, the problem also extends to cattle, further complicating the situation.

In the month of May, there were alarming reports of dog attacks on the beaches of Goa. The Drishti lifeguards, responsible for the safety of tourists on the State's beaches, were at the receiving end of the aggressive behaviour of the wandering canines. These strays, seemingly in search of food, pose a serious threat to beachgoers and the efforts of the lifeguards.

CATTLE CLASS: While much attention is given to stray dogs, the problem also extends to cattle.
CATTLE CLASS: While much attention is given to stray dogs, the problem also extends to cattle.

Drowning may be a serious threat, but here it appears that if a tourist is unlikely to die of drowning, he or she is likely to be bitten by a stray dog. Sometimes the stray dogs outnumber tourists on the beaches.     

While the drowning of tourists is a serious concern for the lifeguards, the greater challenge for them is dealing with a problem which they are not equipped to handle. 

Drowning may be a serious threat, but here it appears that if a tourist is unlikely to die of drowning, he or she is highly likely to be bitten by a stray dog.

Looking at the rising population of strays, it is evident that the animal birth control programmes have either failed or not had the desired result. It is very difficult to lay the blame on the government or those concerned with controlling the dog population.

However, it is clear that there has been no proper coordination between those involved in dealing with the problem, and as a result Goa's tourism is at risk of experiencing or has already begun to experience significant negative impacts. 

LET DOWN: In Goa, the issue of stray dogs has been a long-standing challenge without a clear solution in sight.
Unchecked dog breeding causing friction between man, dog

Dogs are man's best friends. Going by this adage, these animals require our empathy. This only means Goa needs a unified and sustained approach to deal with the current situation that presents a complex challenge. It requires us to balance our empathy for dogs, while also bearing the safety and well-being of humans in mind.            

Goa needs a unified and sustained approach to deal with the current situation that presents a complex challenge.

The government will do well to support sterilisation programmes to help control the stray dog population in a humane manner, while at the same time also fund shelters and organisations working for the welfare of strays. 

By working together and showing empathy to these animals, Goa can also show the way in animal welfare and create a better future for both stray dogs and its tourism.

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