New Delhi’s stray dogs to be put to work by police in exchange for food

Stray dogs roaming the Indian capital may soon find themselves attending police training school with civic authorities planning to turn the animals into security dogs, reports say. 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 and press the canines into service as guard dogs.

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.

Jalaj Shrivastava

Some 40 trainers have already been deployed along with city planning officials to engage as many as 700 strays. The dogs will be fed and vaccinated under the plan, which has been welcomed by animal rights activists. There are no recent figures on the number of dogs in Delhi but a 2009 city survey put the count at more than 260,000. A 2001 law forbids killing the roaming dogs and the stray population has soared, feeding on India’s infamous mountains of street garbage as well as on scraps given to them by residents.