Wanted: Stray dogs to attend police training school

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Stray canines roaming the Indian capital may soon find themselves pressed into action - at the police training school.

The authorities are planning to turn the animals into security dogs, reports said on Saturday.

New Delhi residents have long informally adopted some strays as watchdogs and fed them, but this marks the first formal plan to turn them into municipal security dogs.

Delhi authorities said they would enlist police animal trainers to work with the strays.

The canines will then be pressed into service as guard dogs, under the newly formed May I Help You? city security force.

“If these dogs are going to roam the NDMC (New Delhi Municipal Corp) area, they might as well work,” the civic body’s chairman Jalaj Shrivastava told The Hindu newspaper.

About 40 officers have already been deployed, with the city planning to engage as many as 700, he added.

“This initiative is meant to address two issues: take the strays off the streets, thereby tackling the dog menace, and make the city safer for residents,” added Shrivastava.

Over a quarter million strays

There are no recent figures on the number of dogs in Delhi but a 2009 city survey put them at more than 260,000.

The reports did not say how many dogs would be used in the security scheme.

A 2001 law forbids killing the roaming dogs and the stray population has soared, feeding on India’s infamous mountains of street garbage and scraps that residents give to them.

Hindus object to the killing of many types of animals.

Cities across India already run sterilisation and vaccination programmes but an estimated 20,000 people die each year from rabies infections in India.

The numbers account for over a third of the global total. - AFP


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