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Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 March 2007, 18:36 GMT
Stray dogs killed in Bangalore
By Habib Beary
BBC News, Bangalore

Stray dog in India
Dogs have been treated cruelly during the campaign, critics say
Officials in the southern Indian city of Bangalore say they have killed 200 stray dogs in the past week.

The crackdown comes after dogs killed two children, one a boy of three who died last week after being bitten.

Bangalore City Corporation Commissioner K Jairaj said that only diseased and ferocious strays had been put down.

He said more than 2,000 dogs had been caught out of an estimated population of 70,000. Animal rights activists have accused the authorities of cruelty.

If you have love stray dogs, you should take responsibility for ensuring that they do not bite people
Campaigner N Santosh Hegde

Officials began rounding up the dogs following public outrage over the death of three-year-old Manjunath near his home last week in the east of the city.

He was bitten by strays and died on his way to hospital.

In December, a girl of eight, Sridevi, was fatally mauled by a pack of dogs in the same area.

Dog catchers from neighbouring states have been called in to help round up the strays.

But the drive has been suspended for now as officials have run out of space to house the captured dogs.

"We are reviewing the situation," Mr Jairaj told the BBC.

"There is a shortage of animal shelters to keep the captured strays. The second phase will begin after consulting experts."

Protests

The offensive has led to street protests by animal rights activists in Bangalore as well as in the capital, Delhi.

Dogs have been lassoed using metal wires and carcasses of the some of the slaughtered animals have been dumped outside Bangalore causing outrage.

Stray dogs in India
Stray dogs have been used for police duties in other Indian states

Even state Governor TN Chaturvedi wrote to the local government asking it to exercise restraint.

He described the crude manner in which dogs were being treated as "exasperating".

"They have not shown dignity to dogs even in their death.

"The municipal employers do not have trained catchers, nor do they have the knowledge to distinguish rabid and ferocious dogs from the docile and friendly ones."

Rohini Kamath, an animal rights activist, says "simple surgery - spaying for females, neutering for males - is the only solution and the only kind solution for the dog population crisis in Bangalore".

Dog lovers, including school children, held a recent protest against the campaign in the technology capital.

They hung placards on the necks of pets with slogans like "Why should we be punished for someone else's fault" and "Live and let live".

Meanwhile, a group favouring elimination of strays has filed a public interest petition in the state high court seeking tougher action.

Campaigner N Santosh Hegde says the civic authorities and animal rights groups are not dealing with the problem.

"If you have love stray dogs, you should take responsibility for ensuring that they do not bite people," he said.

"There should be some consideration for the life of human beings."


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