Updated: Apr 26, 2022
Harini M S
In an attempt to improve the institutional, physical, social and economic infrastructure of cities in the country, the Government of India introduced the Smart City Project in 2015. Currently in its first phase, the project has already been implemented in 20 cities. While it is a welcome move which will improve the overall standard of living of urban India, it poses a risk to the livelihood of stray dogs in the country, which roam around the streets with (almost) minimal intervention from humans. A Smart City Project would involve more human control in infrastructure and unclaimed land, posing a threat to the freedom and existence of the ever- growing population of stray dogs in the country, despite the fact that Indian citizens are obligated (by duty and by law) to protect these animals – killing or relocating them is illegal. In Bangalore, where attempts to control the population of stray dogs (through the Animal Birth Programme) have failed, the ever-growing base of animal-lovers points towards the possible effectiveness of a mass movement in ensuring these dogs’ continued existence in the future. This raises two questions – (a) what is the position of stray dogs in today’s society? and (b) what can be done to ensure the continued existence of this species of animals in Bangalore? This paper seeks to answer these two questions through a combination of content analyses, surveys and interviews.