Dog Days

- Kushagra K Chanda , Journal Club

2017-11-04

Cultural


A few weeks ago, something previously unimaginable happened - the 6 dogs living on campus became the biggest issue of debate online in BPHC. If someone had told me 2 months ago that this would happen, I would have called them crazy. And yet, somehow it did, that too at a time when midsems were just around the corner and ATMOS was less than a month away. It reached such a scale that even Rahul Subramanian had an entire 5 minutes set dedicated to the issue.

So why did it all start? What are the main points both sides had, and what happened about it finally? This article attempts to sum it all up. Now, unless youíve been living under a rock, you probably already know most of this stuff, but hereís a brief summary anyway.

Intro - how it all began

Over the past few months there have been a lot of isolated incidents involving dogs. From peopleís food being snatched and eaten by dogs to an occasional wandering soul being chased by barking dogs in the darkness, these occurrences have become more frequent recently.

Hence, an increasing number of people have complained to the SWD and college authorities regarding the issue and the lack of action being taken. There has been serious talk about calling dog catchers and getting all the dogs removed from campus. Hence a group of dog lovers recently decided to take action to dissuade the authorities from taking such actions and keep the dogs on campus.

The main points being raised by both sides are as follows -

Main points against the dogs -

1. Dogs bite and chase people. There have been multiple instances where they have chased people, sometimes even causing them to fall and get injured. Moreover, there was an incident a few years ago where a professorís child (5 or 6 years old) was attacked and bitten by dogs. Hence, it is not safe to have them around.
2. The dogs loiter around the eateries and eat food from the plates dropped there. Hence, it leads to creation of unhygienic conditions around those places, which is a huge problem since people eat there. Moreover there have been multiple reported incidents where dogs have snatched food off peopleís plates or licked them.
3. Many people are generally terrified of dogs, and it is unfair to expect them to adjust or compromise since they pay to stay here, unlike the dogs.
4. Many people feel that the presence of the dogs, many of whom are very dirty and unkempt, in popular locations on campus reflects badly on the impression of the college in the eyes of outsiders.
5. No one is willing to take responsibility in case something serious happens. So itís better to avoid the risk entirely by removing the dogs from campus.

Main points in support of the dogs -

The dogs currently on campus are docile and do not cause any disturbance to people.They just go about their own lives without bothering anyone. As long as they are not provoked by violent acts towards them, there is no possibility of them attacking anyone.
1. For many people who have pets at home and miss them, the dogs on campus provide an alternative and make them feel better. Moreover, the dogs on campus are very friendly and a lot of people feel happy interacting with the dogs.
2. Even if the dogs are relocated or removed, they will be replaced by other dogs who may not be so peaceful and friendly. Moreover, it is not possible to seal the entire campus boundary so more dogs will sneak in anyway. 3. The presence of the dogs currently on campus dissuades other dogs from coming in since they have already marked this as their territory.
4. I genuinely canít think of any more points in support of dogs. Jesus Christ.

Administrationís final decision

Unlike popular perception, this issue does not come under the purview of the SWD but rather the General Administration Unit (GAU) as it affects all the residents of the campus, not just students. We went to the GAU recently to talk to the estate manager and know the final decision being taken about the issue.

He explained that the primary factor here is fear. There are people of all age groups here on campus and many of them fear for their safety and the safety of their children while the dogs are on campus. The goal of the administration is to make sure that they do not have to bear with this fear as we are all paying to stay here and a fearless campus is everyoneís basic right. Hence, the safety of the residents of the campus will definitely be given greater priority than a few dogs. Moreover, there is a lot of pressure on the administration to get the dogs removed, apart from the risk of being blamed for inaction if a dog causes a serious incident.

The administration has already approached the local municipality regarding dog catchers, but they do not have any. Hence, they are now contacting other local bodies to procure dog catchers as soon as possible. It is taking a bit of time, but will be done within the next few weeks. Very soon, all the dogs will be removed from campus. Moreover, the campus walls are being fortified and the gaps and cracks are being filled, so that no more dogs can enter in the future. Meanwhile, the guards have been instructed to use physical force to make sure that the dogs don't go near the hostels and eateries. Guards patrolling near the messes and eateries, and innocent dogs being beaten viciously with sticks and chased away has become a very common sight in the last few weeks. While it looks like they'll be around for a while, the future is uncertain.