The door-bell rang. Jerry jumped up at the ice-cream cone on Kabir’s hand, its bushy tail wagging frantically. No-one could dare to snatch the cone back: if anybody tried to do this, Jerry would lay his teeth bare, broaden his jade-green eyes and let out a frightening growl.
If any-one in Kabir’s family dared not to hand over the ice-cream cone at the entry door itself, Jerry would become angry to the extent of leaping furiously at one and all, flinging at whichever clothes he could lay his paws on, rolling over the carpet till it would become tattered with its black hair
Jerry was a certified blackmailer too. No matter how carefully Kabir would hide sugary stuff, Jerry could smell it from poles apart. If denied sugary food, Jerry would manage to escape to the garden, roll over the brown wet soil and come running back to Kabir’s favorite sofa, smearing the wet dirt all over the sofa.
Kabir used to tell his sagas with Jerry – such as the night when his inlaws and friends were to come for a birthday cake-cutting at midnight. Jerry had been not feeling well that day and was sleeping. However, at half-hour before midnight, Jerry woke up from slumber, stealthily opened the fridge with his usual antics, and enjoyed a delicious midnight snack. Unware of this burglary, when Kabir had welcomed the guests and opened the fridge for cake at midnight, it was quite an embarrassment. Jerry was asleep though, or maybe pretended to be asleep, but a fine layer of vanilla cream could be noticed at the borders of his wide mouth.
And at 10 pm sharp daily, it used to be Jerry’s walk time.
Sniffing curiously on the road, howling at the petite old stray sleeping at the colony gate, strutting his back graciously at the female kittens at the end of the lane, Jerry would thoroughly enjoy his half-hour journey every night. Kabir would accompany behind.
Yesterday, after my office hours, I went to Kabir’s home after a month or so. Kabir brought some ice-cream for snacks, along with some candies.
But this time, there was no cone.
It comes as no surprise that many people walk their dogs without any collar, leash, or harness. In Delhi’s roads, in which haphazard driving is a norm rather than an exception, and roads in which there is no empathy for even humans, including old people or disabled people crossing roads, it should come as a surprise.
Last week, while on his nightly walk, Jerry saw an ice-cream vendor going home and rushed at the cart. An auto came zigzag, hit Jerry, and escaped with not even an iota of speed lessened. Kabir was 10 feet behind, wandering with this phone on his ear. He had always claimed it was an impossible task to lift his chubby furry friend, but suddenly developed enough muscle to pick Jerry to run back as fast as he could to his home towards his car. Jerry was not breathing; there was no movement, but as with any dog-lover, one needs a doctor to ultimately convince one about the inconvenient truth – that the apple of his eye is no more.
Why on earth people hesitate to walk the dogs without a leash is incomprehensible.
“Don’t worry. My cuddly poo does not bite anyone. He is very loving – He is a friend to all the strays here” – pat comes the reply when I confront people walking their dogs without collars.
“But Sir, as animal rescuers, we daily see accident cases. Sometimes you know…” I retort.
“Oh don’t worry. We have trained our dog. He won’t attack any stray dog or people here. Moreover, as soon as we see any vehicle coming in speed, we call him and he gets back to us, he is trained.”
I just hope I could make him meet a dog owner whose dog ran towards an unknown stray, who appeared out of no-where, leading to a tragic accident. I just hope I could make him see the plight of a dog owner whose dog ran to catch a squirrel or mouse that crossed its way unexpectedly and was subsequently hit by a motorbike. I just hope I put in his mind that the dog’s reflexes can’t outsmart the vehicles coming at a high speed, and it’s a huge risk for its life!
‘My dog is friendly to strays’ is just no logic. I try once more –“But please understand that, on the loose, when the dog comes near children or people, they would panic. The other people don’t know that dog is friendly – Everyone is not a dog lover you see…And this is the very reason that people get irritated of pet owners…”
“As previously explained to you, mine is a Labrador. He is loving and he won’t bite anyone. Noone is irritated of him”
End of a ‘peaceful’ conversation between both animal lovers.
On 26th January 2015, the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI), had published guidelines for pets. In its circular, it is mentioned that pet owners are advised to ensure that their pets are not a source of nuisance to other people. Clause 6 of the circular says –
“Leashing of pets in public places is advisable. Leashes of dogs assure passersby that they are safe and make them more comfortable when walking in the vicinity of the owner with the pet dog on a leash. Leashing also ensures the safety of the pet from being run over by vehicles on the streets, or worse still, being the cause of accidents.”
Can a dog owner be booked by police if his/her dog bites any other person?
It is pertinent to note that pet owners can get convicted by the court if their dog bites someone if it is proved that the dog-bite was due to the owner’s negligence. Dog-owners can be booked under Section 289 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which states that –
“Negligent conduct with respect to animal.—Whoever knowingly or negligently omits to take such order with any animal in his possession as is sufficient to guard against any probable danger to human life, or any probable danger of grievous hurt from such animal, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees, or with both.”
If an untied dog, without a leash bites a person, the court can convict the dog owner.
A simple google search on the internet about ‘dog bites and Indian Penal Code’ shows that these instances are not as rare as people might believe them to be!
It should be clear by now that leashes, collars, or harnesses are paramount to your dog’s and other people’s safety. It is also a myth that collars or leashes cause discomfort to dogs.
If the collar is of good quality, it adds to the joyful experience of dog-walking for both the dog and the owner.
A brief background of Binkymart®:
Binkymart® LLP is an online pet store providing designer dresses, dog coats, dog T-shirts, dog Tuxedo, harness, dog shoes, dog beds, accessories for dogs (bow ties, collars, leashes, pet name tags, bowls, bandanas, pet toys, leash holders). Binkymart also provides handmade quality reflective collars for stray dogs, reflective collars for cows at affordable prices, with a mission to save their lives from accidents at night. We are also the first company in India to introduce drag bags for paralyzed dogs. Our manufacturing is done by needy skilled women such as widows, disabled, etc in NGOs, to promote women empowerment. Please visit www.binkymart.com for details.