ANIMAL WATCH-Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has been selected as President Joe Biden’s choice to serve as the U.S. Ambassador to India -- the first country to announce that it would become “No Kill” by 2005, and where Pit Bull and other stray-dog attacks, feral cats -- and rabies -- are out of control.
Best Friends Animal Society and LA Animal Services joined Garcetti recently to announce that the city of Los Angeles had reached the “No Kill” goal of euthanizing no more than 10% of the animals admitted to the shelter under a “managed intake” plan. which promotes leaving stray or lost dogs and cats in the streets.
It seems poetic justice that Garcetti may soon be living in the tragic and dangerous real-world results of “No Kill” (India’s 2001 Supreme Court order that no stray animals can be euthanized.)
Soon, he can truly envision -- and experience -- Los Angeles 20 years from now, as dogs and cats are rejected at the shelters or reluctantly accepted with an appointment, and concerned residents who find feral kittens were told in Animal Services’ media releases this week that they should be left where they are. (Even if the mother comes back and can find sufficient food and safety to keep them, and herself, alive, this merely increases unaltered, starving free-roaming cats who will create more kittens.)
It also multiplies unvaccinated feral cats to contract diseases and be killed by predators. But their deaths in the streets will not be counted by the shelter nor mar its 90% “save rate” statistic. It’s called “managed intake.”
INDIA 20 YEARS AFTER DECLARING ‘NO KILL’ – HOW’S IT WORKING OUT?
Let’s see how that has worked out for the people and the animals of India:
On March 15, 2021, the Times of India reported, “India, with its estimated population of 35-40 million stray dogs, accounts for the highest number of rabies cases in the world with about 20,000 people (or around 36% of the 59,000 deaths worldwide) dying from it every year; half the cases are children below 15 years of age.”
“India sees 1.75 million dog bites every year, yet we face up to 80% shortage of anti-rabies vaccines. The government is dragging its feet over controlling dog population, vaccinating them or even making enough shots available for victims,” Downtoearth.org observes.
And India accounts for 36 per cent of rabies deaths that occur worldwide each year, with dogs contributing up to 99 per cent of all rabies transmitted to humans, with children being the usual victims.
“The government figures are way lower than the actual figures,” says M K Sudarshan, founder member of the Association for Prevention and Control of Rabies in India (APCRI).
Comparing Rabies Data in Los Angeles County
California has strict rabies control laws stemming from an epidemic in 1955, when 70 rabid dogs were identified, and 52 people were bitten by known-rabid dogs. Since then, Los Angeles County requires that all dogs be vaccinated against rabies as a prerequisite to licensing.
Rabies in bats has increased in the past few years in Los Angeles County, according to a 2020 report by LA County Health. Bats are the most common source of rabies in cats. The reason behind this increase remains unknown. About 15-20% of bats tested locally have rabies but less than 1% of healthy bats are thought to carry rabies.
PIT BULL ATTACKS IN INDIA
Pit Bull Attacks Man, Bites and Breaks His Neck
On MAY 13, 2021, the IBTimes reported that a 36-year-old laborer was killed by a vicious attack by a Pit Bull while working in the southern city of Bengaluru. Police said that “the dog pounced on the man, bit him and broke his neck.”
According to the report, the victim was taking a break from work and sitting on the stairs of a neighboring home when the Pit Bull followed the owner down the stairs and jumped on him.
“Before he could get up and react, the dog pounced on him, held him by the neck and crushed him. The owner tried to intervene but she was injured in the attack,” police told the Hindu. Neighbors tried to help him and rushed him to the hospital.
In the meantime, the owner and a friend tried to catch the dog but, it started clawing on her, requiring her also to be taken for medical care.
The victim was declared dead at the hospital.
"The dog bit his internal carotid artery, which supplies blood to the brain, and as a result, he breathed his last quickly," a doctor from the Yelahanka hospital said. An autopsy is pending.
Police reportedly booked the pit bull’s owner for death due to negligence.
Pit Bull Mauls, Leaves 11-year-old Boy in Critical Condition
A Pit Bull dog mauled a 11-year-old boy and left him with grievous injuries on his face in Jaipur city of Rajasthan on July 19. The child is undergoing treatment at a private hospital, according to. His condition is reported to be critical. Following the incident, police booked the dog's owner and caretaker.
The victim’s father works as a labourer in the residence of the owner of the Pit Bull. The family lives in backyard in a rental. Around 10:30 a.m. on July 19, when Vishal was playing, the Pit Bull attacked him.
According to the report, “The dog crushed the facial bones of Vishal and inflicted grievous injuries on his head, neck, thighs and hand before residents could rescue him.”
A case has been registered under Section 289 that deals with negligent conduct of the Indian Penal Code. Meanwhile, the civic body took custody of the dog after the incident and sent it to a rescue center at Jai Singh Pura Khor.
Rajesh Gupta , in-charge of livestock at JMC-Greater, was quoted by TOI as saying, “In Rajasthan, many people reportedly keep Pit Bulls as pets illegally despite experts' advice that the breeds should not be kept at home.”
"We always discourage people from purchasing ferocious breeds of dogs for their homes. The behaviour of these foreign breeds is unpredictable and it’s a constant threat for owners and people living in surroundings," said veterinary doctor Arvind Mathur.
Pit Bull attacks woman, her pet near Aerocity, owner arrested
On Feb 23, 2021, Delhi Police arrested a 25-year-old man after his pet Pit Bull – a dog breed banned in many countries for its apparent ferocity, the Hindustani Times reported, after the Pit Bull allegedly attacked a woman and her dog, an Indian Pariah, and bit them both near Aerocity in south Delhi on Monday evening.
The woman states that the Pit Bull was not on a leash and that after the attack, when she complained to the owner, he allegedly threatened her. A senior police officer said the woman was taken to Safdarjung hospital for treatment.
Pit Bull Mauls 12-Year-Old Girl, Punjab Court Sentence Dog Owners to 6 Months in Prison and Rs 1000 Fin
On June 16, 2021, a Punjab Court sentenced a father-son duo to six months of imprisonment and a fine of Rs 1,000 each after their Pit Bull, attacked and injured a girl in the Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar district last February. Magistrate Lavleen Sandhu said, "It is a crime to let loose a dangerous dog like Pit Bull onto the streets and endanger others. There is a provision to punish the owner of the pet in such cases."
The child, Tanzana, said, "I was coming home from a temple when the dog attacked me. My father saw the dog and managed to get me freed from it. He then took me to Mahindra Hospital from where they referred me to a Jalandhar hospital."
The decision was made after the court had heard an appeal by the dog owner and considered the cost of surgeries required and the loss of income for her father to close his business to care for her, according to the TeamLatestly report.
‘STRAY DOGS ARE KILLING CHILDREN IN INDIA.’
“A team of scientists in India is investigating why packs of stray dogs in villages near the north Indian town of Sitapur have mysteriously started killing children,” the Washington Post reported in May 2018.
In just one week, six children between 5 and 12 years old were killed by strays while more than two dozen other children have been injured in attacks, according to the investigation, and the town is terrorized.
Vigilante dog-catching squads have started shooting and strangling animals, while local authorities have recruited police officers, municipal workers and a team of expert monkey catchers to apprehend the strays.
The World Wildlife Fund and the Indian Veterinary Research Institute have sent teams to figure out what has turned the dogs into child killers, the report states.
STRAY / FERAL CATS IN INDIA – HOW DO THEY LIVE?
Shariq Khan is a soulful and prolific commenter who wrote on Quora on May 8, 2021, about India’s stray/feral cats and who describes himself merely as, “I help stray cats.” Below is his heartfelt commentary on Quora to the question, “Do you know how stray cats in India live?” (This and the link to his other comments can be read here.)
Stray cats live more pathetic, miserable and most painful life than stray dogs and rats in India. Most of the cats I have seen are way more skinny. Most of the people think cats can easily catch rats but it is not true. Stray cats have very less success rate of catching rats most of rats they catch are poisoned and died slowly after eating it.
Rats live in houses and no one want cats around their houses also cats can't roam on roads as they don't want to get mauled by stray dogs. People feed dogs. This also create problem for cats as many dogs are now in packs. Most of the Indians have dog as pet and sleep on roofs so cats don't even have chance to roam on your terraces. There are many bird owner or feeder in India and when cat kill birds or steal their milk most of the time cats eventually get killed.
Stray cats [are] totally dependent on meat and they hardly get meat in a week so they die miserably in their first or second year of life. Cats died to starvation, dogs, monkeys attacks, tortured to death by people, accidents, poisoning, cat always met very painful death. Most of us can't imagine how painful their life is.
Basically, cats can't get enough chances of searching or hunting for foods. If cats try to kill pigeon on roads people will shoo it away not knowing for how long this cat might be starving. Cats are also dependent on humans. and seeing a starving cat I started feeding some cats. They always think it is easy to have this man as source food and meowing to him for food than wandering for days for food in vain and eventually died to starvation what make it more worse that cats give birth to kittens one after another having three to four litters a year and most of kittens die painfully. Out of three to four litters of kittens comprising of total 12–16 kittens and only one or two kitten make it to its one year.
STRAY / FERAL CATS IN LOS ANGELES UNDER MAYOR ERIC GARCETTI
A major component of the Best Friends Animal Society/Los Angeles Animal Services’ recently alleged “No Kill” success is not accepting feral cats at the shelters and, instead, relying on volunteer, trappers and caregivers to assure they are spayed/neutered and fed under a TNR (Trap/Neuter/Release) plan.
To accomplish this, a “Citywide Community Cat Program” was approved, which commits the City to an estimated $2,000,000 annually for 30 years to spay/neuter 20,000 “free roaming cats” per year. This is not just a “goal” but must be accomplished to comply with the mandate that was established under the motion by Councilmember Paul Koretz and approved by the City Council and Mayor Garcetti (without a source for the money being designated).
Does this solve the problem or add to it?
Stray, owned (outdoor) or feral unaltered cats can reproduce anywhere and with frequency (beginning at as early as three months of age and cats can become pregnant again as soon as two weeks after delivering a litter.) There won’t be a volunteer trapper around to stop litters all over the city from maturing into more unaltered adult feral cats. This is a self-fulfilling perpetuation to get outside donations, which will place us in the same inhumane and out-of-control situation as India.
The basic problem is not one of law -- the City’s existing ordinance mandates all owned cats be spayed/neutered, but there has been a deliberate and total avoidance of enforcement under former-General Manager Brenda Barnette, who, along with Paul Koretz, refused to enforce this law and require microchipping of cats for owner accountability. Thus, it is unlikely that any of the unaltered feral cats have current rabies vaccination for the protection of the animals and humans.
Coincidentally, Best Friends Animal Society (which was one of the first contributors of $52,000 to the campaign for the “community cat plan”) is one of the major organizations currently performing feral-cat sterilization in LA.
FERAL CATS - VALID STATS NOT AVAILABLE
There is no valid estimate -- only speculation of the number of feral cats in India, or anywhere in the world, including the U.S.; however, a Wikipedia report is provided below, in part, to provide information on success of any TNR (Trap/Neuter/Return) program.
It states that,” in order for TNR to reduce the cat population, sterilization rates of at least 75% must be maintained at all times, particularly because TNR practitioners providing cats with food make the problem worse by increasing the survival rate of feral kittens.”
Also, this food source causes other cats [and other animals, including rodents and coyotes] to be drawn into the colony from outside.
“For example, to reduce a typical Australian city's population of 700,000 feral cats through TNR would require sterilizing at least 500,000 of them initially, and then continuing to sterilize more than 75% of the kittens that the other 200,000 would continue to produce each year indefinitely, along with all the new recruits from other cat populations drawn by the food supply.”
It also states, “TNR is backed by well-funded advocacy organizations: . . Promoters of TNR are often funded by big businesses with a commercial interest in selling cat food, such as pet food mills and the pet products retailer PetSmart.”
SOME WORDS OF WISDOM FOR ‘AMBASSADOR’ GARCETTI
If LA Mayor Eric Garcetti is confirmed as Ambassador to India, based upon the record of tremendous increases in Pit Bull and other dog attacks in Los Angeles shelters and to adopters, added to the failure to euthanize all dangerous dogs and take in unwanted pets and lost/stray animals (“managed intake”) to maintain Best Friends’ “No Kill” stats, it appears his leadership has taken LA down the same path as India.
Without a quick reversal in Los Angeles’ policy, we may see the same horrendous conditions developing in far less than 20 years. In not demanding the animal control and law enforcement for which the City pays, Garcetti has ignored and denied his responsibility for public/animal safety.
Here are wise words shared by another Quora commenter, Tharika Tellicherry, on India’s animal policy--and some simple insight we can, hopefully, soon apply to Los Angeles:
“Once outside, pet animals don’t have a good chance of surviving. There are vehicles, deranged people who kill animals for fun and an unkind society. You can truly protect only those animals whose movements you can control.”
(Phyllis M. Daugherty is a former City of Los Angeles employee and contributing writer to CityWatchLA.com.) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.