Don't go to war over animals, talk it out
The Khar report, which is a serious case of assault and can never be condoned, is only a take-off point
Given the huge response that our report about the Khar police booking two brothers for thrashing and outraging the modesty of a 25-year-old woman, who is the manager at a shelter home for dogs and cats in Khar, it is evident that this problem is literally creating fissures in the city.
For months now, this paper has published reports about animal lovers or pet lovers and those opposing the menace of stray dogs, cats and even pets, literally being at war in housing societies and residential areas.
The Khar report, which is a serious case of assault and can never be condoned, is only a take-off point.
It is time, given the proportions these stand-offs are acquiring and the frequency with which they occur, that there is serious thought followed by action on how to defuse the situation.
First, housing society committees should frame policies on pets. Second, they should take decisions on members allowing stray animals inside the building premises. While kindness and compassion towards animals are paramount, the lovers also need to check if it is inconveniencing people, dirtying the premises or even proving dangerous for residents. There has to be an effort to look at both points of view.
While nobody supports killing and stoning animals, animal shelters in residential areas or residents who look after or care for stray animals in the vicinity, have to be cautious and respectful of all points of view, and perspectives.
There may be sick people, old persons who may find it difficult to negotiate passages or the building compound with animals and little children who may be in danger because they are apt to startle a stray.
Discuss the issue and come to a mutually beneficial, peaceful solution. This is the only way out of a deadlock that is forming a pattern across Mumbai.
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