[The Voice of Stray Dogs investigation and report. Photographs and video interviews at the bottom of the page]
Bangalore loves a dead dog. We’ve reported earlier that more dog bites get reported in more detail more frequently than any other city in India. You’d think Bangalore’s dog the most motivated cruelest dogs in India and a non-existent ABC program. Actually the opposite is true. But people, politicians and bureaucratic drunk on Bangalore’s heady growth and need to real estate can be another matter. And there is definitely more bite than bark not talking about a total disregard for people’s lives. In one of our earlier reports we’d said that a government that treats its own citizens like dogs, can’t be seen to be any different towards dogs.
On 15 Nov 2011 the papers were full of the story of how a ‘probably’ rabid dog went on a biting spree and bit 8 people in Chakkasandra, Dasarahalli Lake, Bangalore . We went on location on the day of the dog bite story. The dog was killed by the residents of the slum. The autopsy showed that the dog was rabid. The noteworthy part here is that it took 10 days for the autopsy report for Sandeep to come out, it took 2 days in the case of this dog.
While clearly this dog bite happened, here is a situational analysis – how?
- If you were were to look at Google Map of the place you’d think it to be a large waterbody – it’s actually a dried out lake bed. Those familiar with Bangalore’s real estate/ development boom would know that one of of the largest problems with Bangalore’s lakes is that they’re not there – incidentally amongst other things Bangalore had the moniker of being the ‘ City of Lakes’ not just the ‘Garden City’. Now there are hardly any of either. The illegal price of Bangalore’s growth.
- This dried out lake bed is a place of frenetic activity – everyone wants it! The slum dwellers want it because they stay ‘on’ it, the land mafia wants it because they want buildings on it, the BBMP wants it because – well they want it for whomever can fill their coffers.
- The lake was actually filled in by a storm water drain (run off), which passed under a bridge and filled the lake. Till 2 things happened: (1) the bridge was closed and now is a dam! (2) The water is not storm water/run off – but sewage.
- The dam has a closed off the supply and the sewage is in danger of overflowing on the road. The BBMP keeps ‘excavating’ this sewage and piling to a side – as a result there is mountain of piled up sewage which is growing higher because it’s now also a garbage dump – all the garbage is thrown out there in the open. This is where the dogs feast.
- On the other side of the bridge (dam?) i.e. the lake side, approx a 100 sq mt/ 1 hectare area has garbage piled on the lake bed 10-12 feet high. It is this garbage on which this slum stands. And it is this slum land that everyone wants.
- It was clear from the day spent there that:
- The citizens and children in the slum have no fear of dogs – there are dogs living in their midst, some as pets
- The dog that bit people was a dog that none of these people knew – it had come from somewhere else. It was rabid and no ABC program can vaccinate all dogs. But Dr Piran/ BBMP acted immediately in taking care of the victims.
- It seems that the dog bit a few people but maybe half the 8 reported – we think the others joined in because people think there would be a quick compensation – as was given in the case of Sandeep’s death even before any investigation was carried out. Some of the injuries we saw did not appear to be dog bites and looked much older than the 24 hrs within which they’re supposed to have happened (if you have a question on specialization of the author on body injury & healing – he’s broken and hurt every limb and bone, many times!)
- The ABC program has been effective. All the dogs we saw were ABC dogs, all the citizens say that they see only ABC dogs and BBMP regularly picks up dogs for vaccination and neutering.
- The dog bite was an accident since the dog came to this slum and was rabid. The dog came there because of the mountains of filth which provides food for many dogs.
- The dog bite given an opportunity for almost every party involved to get some leverage.
- To the citizens it gives an opportunity to engage and voice themselves and essentially pressurize the corporators and local government to ensure they stay where they are.
- To the local government and mafia it gives an opportunity to bull-doze this place now even more since the garbage has to be cleared and the slum with it.