A recent Hindustan Times report on stray dogs inside the India International Trade Fair at Pragati Maidan has sparked off a debate. As per the report, PC Sharma, GM Publicity, India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO), said, “We’ll definitely throw the dogs out. The venue was cleared during preparations, but some have managed to remain inside.” Animal welfare groups are livid at the statement, and say it’s insensitive to consider any such action.
“The IITF is threatening to “throw” the dogs out, but it is because of the apathy of the new management that the population has increased,” reads a Facebook post by the animal rights NGO Friendicoes. “How can one just throw the dogs out? Firstly, there have been no reports of dog bites from the trade fair, and if at all these dogs are creating a problem, there’s a proper procedure to remove them,” says Geeta Sheshamani, its co-founder.
Poorva Joshi of People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) says, “All issues regarding stray dogs are required to be handled within the appropriate legal framework. Displacing community dogs is a punishable offence and amounts to cruelty. Where events are being held and stray dogs are present, organisers must take the help of recognised NGOs who can assist with sterilisations, immunisation and adoption.”
However, the authorities say that proper measures are in place to keep the canines out. “We have contacted the MCD for evacuation of stray dogs from the venue. Two-three drives have already been conducted. The dogs are caught in a safe manner and sent to special homes, where they are sterilised and given medical assistance. After the fair, the animals will be left in their original habitat,” says Vikram Sehgal, General Manager, Security at India International Trade Fair (IITF). Visitors have mixed takes. “It’s never mattered to me,” says Sid Mohla, 23. Kriti Jha, 17, says, “Stray dogs make IITF dirty.”