‘Stray dogs’ as predators Understanding pets

It is still not yet clear but fingers have been pointed at stray dogs and it continues to stalk and kill livestock, the latest being the 11 ducks at Senapati which were found killed. So from Churachandpur, Imphal East, Thoubal and now Senapati. Scientists from the Wildlife Institute of India are no doubt putting in their best efforts to nail the identity of the predator and they seem to have zeroed in on stray dogs. In between there have come tales of quite a number of people who claim to have seen the predator and their testimonies have steered clear of stray dogs. The Chief Conservator of Forest (Wildlife) has also gone ahead and announced that the involvement of stray dogs cannot be ruled out. This is where one needs to understand whether stray dogs, as understood universally, really exist in Manipur or not. No doubt a number of dogs do roam about in the dead of the night and yes some dogs are known to have stalked domestic livestock such as chicken and ducks, but to call them stray dogs would be missing the wood for the trees. Are there dogs out there on the streets of Imphal or any other towns which have no owner and no place to go back in the night ? Do stray dogs really exist in Manipur ? In the absence of any official figure on stray dogs, it is tough to come to a final answer on this, and this is where there is the need to raise this poser. The need to understand the local environment cannot be overemphasised here. And the situation cannot be different in the hill districts.
Perhaps the answer lies in the wrong usage of term. Imphal or for that matter any of the towns in the hill districts cannot be said to have stray dogs. Unchained dogs or dogs allowed to roam about freely will be the more apt term, for almost all the dogs here have owners and pet names too. Now that the experts from the Wildlife Institute of India and Forest Department officials have more or less confirmed that the livestock were or are being stalked by dogs, it is right for all dog owners to be responsible masters. Keep them well fed. Ensure that they do not move around in the night and the only way to ensure this is to keep them chained or in their kennels. Responsibilities of keeping pets should not be lost on anyone. This is not only about the latest scare but about instilling a sense of responsibility on all who want a pet but do not care about the maintenance. Keeping pets should also come with its share of responsibility. It should no longer be like, want a pet, get a puppy and let it grow up on its own, never mind if it roams around the neighbourhood preying on domestic fowls and ducks. To be sure there will be many who will doubt the veracity of the conclusion drawn by the experts from the Wildlife Institute of India, but for once let all agree that people of Manipur need to wake up to the responsibility of keeping pets. Feed them and yes keep them chained so that they do not become a nuisance to anyone. Dogs stalking livestock can also mean that many dogs are not fed properly.

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