Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Plight of the Stray Dog

There are a lot of dogs in India. Stray dogs. Pretty much wherever you turn there's a stray dog laying in the sun or roaming around aimlessly. I'm not going to lie, the strays around here aren't exactly the cute little strays you might want to take home from the local pound; for the most part, they're malnourished, filthy, and often have mange. It's one of the things, for better or worse, you just kind of accept here as there's really nothing you can do to help the plight of the Indian stray dog. Out of morbid curiousity, I must admit that I have thought, "Do these dogs ever get hit by cars?" (Note, one thing you don't see much, if at all, is road kill, so while highly improbable  that no dogs get hit, it's a more valid question than you might think.)

On the way home from the gym this morning, I learned firsthand that those dogs do, in fact, get hit by cars. We were just about to turn into the apartment complex when a mangey black stray ran out in the middle of the road. There was a car in the "lane" next to us on our right, which is to say it was literally a dog's width away from us. For a second I thought the dog might have lucked out and ended up in that dog's width gap. If anything, based on it's location I thought the other car might nip it. Then as we passed, I heard the thud. Not sure exactly what to do or say, I finally decided on telling Kailish, "I think you hit him." As you can tell, I was firing on all cylinders. He just kind of acknowledged it with a sheepish shrug. In a split second I started to think through what the protocol might be for the offending driver that hits a non-bovine animal (knowing full well that the protocol was to just keep driving). Not a second later, the dog popped up and crossed behind the car and limped away on three legs.

On the bright side, the dog lived; on the not so bright side, I'm now fairly confident that, even with the lack of physical evidence, this is a fairly common occurrence in Gurgaon.


  1. So what is the protocol if (heaven forbid) you hit a bovine?

  2. Clare, we actually went to lunch today with a friend that said he saw a kind of paddy-wagon out picking up a dead horse earlier in the week and there appeared to be a dead cow in the back as well, so I'm guess that people just keep the true answer might be it's the same protocol.

    For some reason I thought I had remembered someone saying there was a larger punishment for hitting and killing a cow than for killing a person, which is why I thought it would differ. However, I did some quick research and couldn't find anything to confirm that. I actually came across this site:

    It actually says that it's illegal for animals to be out wandering around (though based on my research, it must not be enforced). Apparently, it's only considered a crime if you purposely hit an animal (cows included), and that the penalty is INR 2000 or up to 5 years in jail. Even by local wage standards, the INR 2000 (approxiamtely $45) is considerably less strict than losing five years of freedom.

  3. Horrible! Poor dogs get no respect!!

  4. B, don't worry, there's a fairly large class distinction between the poor dogs (i.e., the strays) and the wealthy dogs (i.e., the purebreds that the domestic staff can be seen walking to the apartment complex dog park on a daily basis).