Gandhiji on Killing Stray Dogs- Part 2 (Post No.11,994)


Post No. 11,994

Date uploaded in London – –  12 May , 2023                  

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Killing stray dogs- part 2

This is second article about killing stray dogs

Is this humanity?

A friend writes a long letter mentioning his difficulties and pointing out what Jainism has to say to him a shrawak,in the matter. One of his questions is

You say that if we can’t neither take individual charge of roving dogs nor have a pinjrapole for them,the only alternative is to kill them. Does that mean that every roving dog should be killed, although it may not be rabid?

Gandhij writes,

The writer has misunderstood my meaning. I would not even destruction of rabid dogs for the sake of it, much less of innocent roving dogs. Nor have I said that these latter should be killed wherever they are found. I have only suggested legislation to that effect, so that as soon as the law is made, humane people might wake up in the matter and devise methods for the better management of stray dogs. Some of these may be owned and some might  be put in quarantine. The remedy when it is taken will be once for all.

Stray dogs do not drop down from heaven. They are a sign of idleness, indifference and ignorance of society. When they grow into a nuisance, it is due to our ignorance and want of compassion. A stray dog is bound to take to his heels if you do not feed him. The measure I have suggested is actuated no less by a consideration of the welfare of the dogs than by that of society. It is the duty of a humanitarian to allow no living being aimlessly to roam about. In performance of that duty it may be his duty once in a way to kill some dogs.


Answering another question Gandhi says,

I must explain what I mean when I say that you cannot wait on until the dog  gets rabid. Every stray dog is harmful. The harm is confined to cities alone and it must stop. We do not wait until the serpent bites us. The rabies of the dog is concealed in its capacity to bite. A friend has sent me figures of hydraphobia treated in the civil hospital, Ahmedabad :

Period.                                        Cases from the city            Cases from the district

January to December 1925          194.                                        923 = 1117

January to September 1926.          205.                                      695 = 990

These figures must alarm everyone who is interested in the welfare of the community, especially if he is a humanitarian.

I admit all the cases may not been of hydrophobia . But it is difficult to say whether a dog is rabid or not, and many run in fear to the hospital because most dogs are found to be rabid afterwards. There is only one remedy to relieve  them of this fear and it is not to allow dogs to roam about. 


No Stray Dogs in England 

I was in England forty years ago when effective measures were taken up to stamp out rabies. There were of course no stray dogs there. But even for the dogs which had regular owners, an order was passed that dogs found without collars with the name and address of the owner there on and without muzzles would be killed. The measure was taken purely in the public interest. Practically the next day all the dogs in London were found to be with collars and muzzles. It was therefore necessary to kill only a very few. If anyone thinks that the people in the West are innocent of humanity he is sadly mistaken. The ideal of humanity in the West is perhaps lower, but their practice of it is very much more thorough than ours. We rest content with a lofty ideal and are slow or lazy in its practice. We are wrapped in deep darkness, as is evident from our paupers, cattle and other animals. They are eloquent of our irreligion rather than of our religion.

 Young India, 11-11-1926Tags- Stray dogs, roving, Gandhiji, Part 2, England, Rabid, Rabies, killing

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