... pretending we just do not see

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By The Telegraph Online
  • Published 5.06.05

On Tuesday, we came across a sick stray dog lying right in the middle of Beniapukur Lane, an alley that snakes past my home. The dog was severely ill and kept howling all the time. So, the para people got together and shifted the dog close to a gutter. It lay there and howled for the next two days, often lapsing into a delirium, especially at night. Yet, nobody came forward to do anything for the animal, though the road is always bustling with passersby.

Residents of the area asked the Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC) conservancy workers to pick up the dog when they came for their daily rounds in the mornings. The workers said the CMC could pick up only dead animals ? not the dying.

So, on Thursday my wife started dialling the numbers of animal care centres given in The Telegraph. We got through to All Lovers? Animal Association, but to no avail.

When nothing much happened, I met the local civic official ? we belong to Mullickbazar ward ? and informed him of the matter on Thursday evening. He said the matter didn?t fall under his area of supervision but he took down a complaint and promised to alert the people concerned.

The dog died that midnight.

On Friday morning, we called up Removal of Animal Carcasses, but the phone kept on ringing. Next, we called Calcutta Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (CSCPA) which said it doesn?t pick up carcasses and guided us to a gentleman called Debasish Chakraborty who suggested that we call up the CMC control room.

I called up the CMC control room at around 1 pm and the civic authorities picked up the dog around 2.45 pm?

I haven?t faced such a situation before and the whole episode has left me feeling very strange. First, people are not clued into what they can do when faced with such a situation. What does one do when there?s a sick animal to be taken care of?

Second, there seems to be a lot of indifference in the locality. No one seemed to be really bothered. There are lots of strays in the area. Some people speculated the dog might have had rabies. Though the dog was too weak to attack anyone, it?s a matter of public health, too.

Besides, everybody we called up showed a lot of concern but I am not sure what they did in concrete terms. There has to be some sort of an organisation to take care of a sick animal.

This callousness in Calcutta is very alarming.