Monday, May 25, 2009

Puppies of a lesser god

I was reading this article from Tony and was immediately reminded of my one of own experiences with animal rights activists.

Every summer we head out to Ooty for our Annual Family Vacation. Before we all started working, we would go to exotic places. But now, time constraints do not allow that luxury and we are content with our favorite place on Earth i.e Ooty. We have been coming to Ooty every year from the time my eldest brother was born. So we are like natives here and know quite a few of the locals here. Mingling with the Who’s Who of Ooty has its benefits. You get to sit in a Box at the Racing Club for instance. We go for the races every year in May. As kids we were allowed to bet with the Government run Betting Booth in the private stall. The two punters who sat here were very middle aged ladies operating what looks like a contraption made in the 1800’s. We were very professional gamblers too. After studying the racing guide carefully, we chose the horses with a name we thought was the snazziest. We were allowed to bet Rs. 5 per game and by the end of the races we would recover some and lose some. The place has not changed over the years. The two ladies who sit in the stall taking bets are still there.

Over the years things have changed though at the races. A lady can be seen seated near the racing track with a binocular and every now and then she gesticulates and makes a noise. Since we were ‘insiders’ we got to know that she was from Mrs. Kenaka Handhi’s stables. A highly excitable creature that watches every race like a hawk and reports any “harsh treatment” of the horse to her Madam. Madam would then make life hell for you in the Press. I have seen several such ladies at the races. Each one more holier than thou who think nothing of the malnourished and over burdened Ponies in Ooty because it gives them no mileage in the Press.

Last year we saw a signboard on the roads that indicated a kennel with litter. I was eager to go and see the pups. A kennel is the place for people like me who want to pick up some puppies and play with them for a while. When we reached the “Kennel” what we saw horrified us. Small plywood boxes housed new born puppies separated from their mother who was trapped in a similar box under the harsh sun. The entire kennel consisted of a terrace with plywood cartons housing innumerable Alsatian puppies and dogs.

When I reported the matter to the lady from Mrs. Kenaka Handhi’s stables she pretended not to hear me and walked over to the generous bar laid out by the club on racing night. While she sipped the cocktails courtesy the prize bloodlines at the racing club stables, small malnourished puppies slept uncomfortably in small plywood boxes under the cold Ooty moon. Animals with no birthright because their owners could not provide the Champagne and Caviar needed to grab attention to their plight.

11 comments:

mathew said...

its sad...probably its not given much importance in our country has even human rights are hardly given precedence....I like dogs and esp the sight of such puppies in restricted spaces make me sad..
One curious trivia i heard was that out here government pays owners a monthly amount to take care of pets..so you wont find almost everyone has a pet..:)

Karthik Sivaramakrishnan said...

Interesting incident. Though there is sufficient evidence in the news that most animal rights activists are a frivolous bunch. (Eg: http://blog.al.com/spotnews/2009/04/peta_protests_mass_chicken_dan.html)

scorpiogenius said...

Right hypocrite! Why am I not surprised?

Perhaps she is only worried about horses and not about dogs? Or may be the puppies aren't earning for her as much as the ponies.. que?

Pramod Abraham said...

If there be no more money/fame to be made from supporting blue blood horses and no more Page 3 coverage then there cud be shift in approach.

PHOTOGENIC DEVIL said...

this is so sad.....

i am equally fond of both animals
and even if i was not , they deserve freedom - and if not given that , they deseve the very best living conditions

alas , as i grow up i realise that life is full of such phonies
it makes the process very cumbersome

i wish , there were people coming forward and doing something rather than waiting for activists...

a bitch in our street gave birth to a litter of five pups - she was a bag of bones , and despite the constant efforts of all the buildingwallahs , she passed away - it is heartening to see , the pups now over four months old , and each lil kid and adult taking up the responsibility of those street dogs - ull be glad to know , all five of them are alive and kicking - which is rare , as usually the entire litter never survives

we had started this program years back , when i was 5 ... i am 18 now , and am glad , that other 5 year olds too like what i started almost 13 yrs back...........and many others must have before me .....

Sreejith said...

I couldn't agree more with your view.. It's appalling, the blatant discrimination doled out by these people.. Though I've had a few pleasant experiences with some officers and observers, I have to admit they were one-off!!

Mon Espace said...

hmm..sad state of affairs..i would never go to a kennel though..i'd HAVE to take one of em with me! :(

first time here..nice write up's :)

-Cheers!

Mind Curry said...

i guess not all puppies are born as a hate-speech handhi.

Aparna said...

It is sad that most of us do not spare a second glance to stray animals but there are also some people who genuinely care.
The local librarian in my locality is one such person. He looks after stray dogs and cats and during the monsoon season here in Mumbai, he also shelters them in his own tiny library. The entire library smells of wet street dogs and we have to step over all sorts of canines to hunt for our books. I have not seen anybody complain.

silverine said...

Mathew: The problem is that Ms. Handhi has made animal rights a dirty word. It has to be divested from people like her and given to people who genuinely love animals.

Karthik: Absolutely! I remember the PETA demo in front of KFC when it started in Blr. After the demonstration most of them went inside for a snack! We were in school then and had got money to eat there that day. Shattered our young minds! :p

Scorpiogenius: I guess she loves horses more then puppies. :|

Pramod: The amount of phonies in the system is robbing such causes of genuine volunteers.

PD: You should be given an award!! That is such a nice thing to do! Here in Blr they catch the bitches and sterilize them and release them. So dog population has gone down. But kudos to your efforts! :)

Sreejth: I have had some pleasant experiences too with genuine animal rights activists! :)

Mon Space: Same here when I was a kid. Had to be dragged away from kennels! :p

MC: :)

Aparna: It is heartening to hear of that man. It is people like him who make a difference and not the attnetion grabbers who masquerade as animal rights activists!

Rhythm said...

I had a different experience during college days. there were a large number of street dogs who fed on wasted food from LH mess(!). we used to stay at hostel in summer vacation also (in pretense of doing projects) during which hostel mess will not function. once in the evening me and my friend were caught among a group of hungry dogs (7-10) ready to pounce on us. we were saved because hostel main door was hardly 10 meters away and presence of mind (we pretended like picking stones in the pavement and ran as fast as we can). I loved dogs and I still love dogs but I strongly believe in castration of street dogs. Incidents such as this can be avoided if we do it religiously. It might still be an animal rights violation, but our lives are far superior (for us)